Slender mongoose at Girivana waterhole

Slender Mongoose

Herpestes sanguineus

Despite its relative small size – adults weigh around 500g and grow to about 60cm in length – the Slender Mongoose is a very active diurnal carnivore, capable of overpowering prey up to the size of guineafowl and domestic chickens, but usually preying on invertebrates, eggs, reptiles (including snakes), rodents, frogs and small birds and at times a small quantity of fruits and berries as well.

Slender Mongooses are not particular about their habitat and will inhabit any area where there is sufficient cover. They mostly hunt on the ground, but are quite capable climbers, and at night hide in burrows, thickets, hollow tree trunks and similar shelters. They are solitary animals and likely any groups encountered will be consisting of a female with her latest litter of 1 or 2 (seldomly up to 4) cubs. Like most other mongooses they are very susceptible to rabies. Their life expectancy in the wild is approximately eight years.

The IUCN lists the Slender Mongoose as Least Concern. It is distributed over a wide area of sub-Saharan Africa, being absent only from the driest deserts and most densely forested areas. In South Africa they are found in all provinces except the Western and Eastern Cape, where the closely related Cape Grey Mongoose fills the same general ecological niche.

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16 thoughts on “Slender Mongoose

  1. colonialist

    Cute little fellows. Had I thought of it that mongooses were susceptible to rabies, I would have been seriously worried when the supposedly wild banded one ran up to me and sat on my shoulder that time! Mind you, helping himself to a cigarette would have reassured me.

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