Dwarf Mongoose Fast Facts
Dwarf mongooses live throughout Saharan Africa in a wide variety of woodlands, grassland and savannah habitats. They are known as the smallest carnivores in Africa and are primarily insectivorous (insect-eaters). Dwarf mongooses are a social species, living in groups of 12 to 15. Within their territory they will have 20 or more termite mounds, which are used as den sites, lookout posts and food sources. Den sites are always temporary, rarely used for more than a few days at a time, due to their nomadic lifestyle. Mongoose groups are matriarchal, ruled by a dominant female. She determines group moves and has first rights to food. The alpha male is one rank below her. His role is to defend the territory and survey for dangers. Unusually, the group hierarchy is reverse age-based; with the youngest individuals rank higher than older ones. This unique arrangement ensures that the young receive sufficient food.
As the smallest carnivore in Africa, their diet primarily consists of invertebrates, though they may also eat rodents, lizards, snakes and birds.
Within the group only the dominant female is allowed to breed, any other female's offspring is killed. She will produced 2-3 litters a year of up to 4 pups each time. The young are nursed for 45 days; with the whole group providing food. Mongoose develop quickly, at 6 months old they will join the group when foraging. Females reach sexual mature at 100 days; but social pressures keep them from mating before they reach 3 years old. This prevents any breeding outside of the dominant female.
Threats + Conservation
Dwarf mongoose are classified as LEAST CONCERN on the IUCN Red List. In some areas of Africa, they are hunted for food. They are also often persecuted as a pest species as they raid egg in regions where their habitat is in close proximity to humans.
1. Dwarf mongoose have a close relationship with hornbills. They both look out for predators and share food with each other. 2. Mongooses use anal and cheek gland secretions to mark objects near termite mounds to highlight their overnight den. 3. Dwarf mongooses are water independent but will drink when water it is accessible.