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Banded Mongoose Fact File

Mungos mungo

Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

1.5-2.5kg

(3.25-5.5lbs)

Length

30-45cm

(12-18in)

Lifespan

Wild 10 years

Captive 17 years

Diet

Omnivore

Eggs, fruit, snakes

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

Banded mongoose are natives of Africa where they live in dens which are formed in the ground or in a termite mound.

These animals are highly social. Unlike most other social mongoose species all females in a colony will breed and other females help to suckle the young.

This species forms symbiotic relationships with a number of other species such as warthogs which they will remove ticks from the fur of.

Populations of this species are considered stable with the only threat to this species being from collection for food.

Read on to learn more about these magnificent mammals.

Appearance

What does the banded mongoose look like?

The banded mongoose is named for the bands running along the back. Approximately 12 bands are present on each individual.

Their fur is colored brown with animals from wetter regions typically being darker in color. The bands are areas of darker color. They have darker, almost black, feet and tail tip.

At the end of the body is a long tail adding between 15 and 30cm (6-12in) to their length.

On each of the five toes on the front foot they have a long claw. These are also present on the back foot which has only four toes.

An average banded mongoose will measure 30-45cm (12-18in) long with a weight between 1.5 and 2.5kg (3.25-5.5lbs). Males and females are similar in size and appearance.

Diet

What does the banded mongoose eat?


These animals are omnivores. They will feed on a range of small animal prey such as invertebrates, rodents, snakes and bird eggs.


They are able to break in to hard food items by throwing them at objects such as a stone.


These animals have been recorded in a symbiotic relationship with the warthog. They will feed on ticks off the warthog.


Poisonous or foul tasting animals are no match for this species. They will roll the prey in the dirt until their spines or skin secretions are rubbed off.

Banded mongooses are best known for their ability to attack snakes. They will strike quickly and grip behind the head to grab the snake. These animals appear to have a level of immunity to the venom produced by snakes.

Banded mongoose

Credit: Public Domain

Range

Where can you find the banded mongoose?

Africa is the native home of the banded mongoose. Here they can be found in the following countries – Angola; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; The Democratic Republic of the Congo; Côte d'Ivoire; Eritrea; Eswatini; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the banded mongoose live in?

These animals are found in forest, savanna, shrubland and grassland habitats. They tend to rely on being close to water.

They have been observed in cities and towns alongside humans.

Groups of banded mongoose will live inside a den. These are often formed within an old termite mound or an abandoned aardvark den. These contain several sleeping chambers and have several entrances.

Bands will regularly change their den site as they move between foraging grounds.

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Reproduction

How does the banded mongoose produce its young?

Females may mate with multiple males each breeding season. During courtship the male will chase the female with his tail held up. She will also lie on his back and wrestle with her.


All females in a band (group) of banded mongoose will breed and give birth at the same time. All female will suckle any young in the den. Each female produces a litter of between 3 and 4 young. These are born after a two month gestation period.


Each day the group head out to forage but a female will stay behind to care for the young.


By 4 weeks old the young will start to leave the den and a week late they start foraging.


Pup mortality is high with a few reaching adulthood.


Sexual maturity is reached between 9 and 10 months old. At maturity both the male and female young will move in to new groups to ensure genetic diversity.


Older males will mate guard the females and this prevents the younger males breeding until they are older.

Behavior

What does the banded mongoose do with its day?

The banded mongoose will live in a family unit which may include 30 animals. Their packs are lead by a dominant male.

They are active during the day. Much of their time is spent looking for food before they return to the den before sunset.

These groups will communicate with one another using a range of distinct sounds.

A range of species will form relationships with these animals. As discussed in diet they have a symbiotic relationship with warthogs. They will also forage together with groups of baboons.

Banded mongoose

Credit: Public Domain

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the banded mongoose?

Natural predators of the banded mongoose include jackals, leopards, lions, cheetah, large snakes, wild dogs and birds of prey.

When a predator approaches they will make a series of low calls.

If threatened by a predator the group will bunch together and move as one to try and give the illusion they are one larger animal.

The population of the banded mongoose is considered stable. Small numbers are collected for food.

Quick facts

Banded mongooses have been seen jumping up and attacking a lion's face.

Banded mongoose

Credit: Thomas Fuhrmann, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2021. Banded mongoose. [online] Available at: <https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/banded-mongoose> [Accessed 2 November 2021].

Folly Farm. 2021. Banded Mongoose – Fun Facts & Information For Kids. [online] Available at: <https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/zoo/meet-the-zoo-animals/banded-mongoose/> [Accessed 2 November 2021].

Krugerpark.co.za. 2021. Banded Mongoose – Africa Mammals Guide – South Africa. [online] Available at: <https://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_banded_mongoose.html> [Accessed 2 November 2021].

Potterparkzoo.org. 2021. Banded Mongoose | Potter Park Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://potterparkzoo.org/animals/banded-mongoose/> [Accessed 2 November 2021].

2021. Banded Mongoose. [ebook] Denver: Denver Zoo, pp.1-2. Available at: <https://devdenverzoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Banded_Mongoose.pdf> [Accessed 2 November 2021].

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo | Indiana’s #1 Summer “Gotta-Do” Attraction. 2021. Banded Mongoose | Our Animals | Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://kidszoo.org/our-animals/banded-mongoose/> [Accessed 2 November 2021].

Gilchrist, J.S. & Do Linh San, E. 2016. Mungos mungoThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41621A45208886. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41621A45208886.en. Downloaded on 02 November 2021.

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