Banded Mongoose

© Nigel J Dennis

Name

Banded mongoose [Mungos mungo]

Appearance

The banded mongoose has a greyish-brown fur coat with a series of dark vertical stripes running down its back and flanks. Their coats are ideal for camouflaging in the wooded areas of South Africa. They have long bushy tails, a light underbelly while their legs are covered in a darker shade. These animals weigh about 1.5 kgs and have a triangular shaped face with round, broad ears. Males tend to weigh more than females before they reach maturity.

Banded Mongoose Diet

The banded mongoose prefers a diet of insects and mainly feeds on termites and beetles indigenous to South Africa. They are also known to prey on small rodents and snakes found in woodland areas. The banded mongoose enjoys eating the eggs of birds and reptiles and throws the egg to help break the shell. Occasionally, the banded mongoose will rummage through garbage dumps for edible scraps.

Banded Mongoose Breeding

The prime breeding season for the banded mongoose is during the rainy season in South Africa. Litters are produced in synchrony in the pack, and each female produces an average of 2 - 8 pups per litter. The gestation period for the banded mongoose is between 8 to 9 weeks long. Born blind and partially haired, the young open their eyes after around 10 days. As a result, of the synchronised breeding, litters are weaned collectively among females.

Banded Mongoose Behaviour

The banded mongoose lives in a group of between 6-40 individuals, with around 15 adults per pack. The banded mongoose holds the largest pack size of carnivores in South Africa. Males and females regularly transfer to other banded mongoose packs to ensure a diversified gene flow.

Where they are found

The banded mongoose is limited to woodland savannah areas found in South Africa. These environments can be found from KwaZulu Natal’s coastal area right up to the woodlands of Mpumalanga, Northern and North Western provinces and Mocambique. A population hiatus occurs between South Africa and further northwesterly regions in Botswana and Namibia.

Vital Statistics

Weight (Female): 1, 0 - 1, 4 kg
Weight (Male): 1, 0 - 1, 4 kg
Length (Female): 55 cm
Length (Male): 55 cm
Gestation Period: 2 months
No of Young: 2 - 8
Sexual Maturity: 1 year
Birth Weight: 20 g
Order: Carnivora
Family: Viverridae

Spoor Description

The banded mongoose has 5 toes on each foot for both forefoot and hind-feet. When the animal is moving slowly the first toe may show in the spoor, but may not make an imprint when it is running or trotting. For the hind feet, only the first claw shows in the spoor behind the other four toes.