Where does the dwarf mongoose live?
Mongooses are found in most parts of Africa. They can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from forests and woodlands to semi-arid areas.
Tags: Dwarf Mongoose, Botswana, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kazungula, Kilimanjaro, Limpopo, Maasai Steppe, Samburu, Virunga, Zambezi, East Africa
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What is a dwarf mongoose?
As the name would imply, this species is the smallest of the African mongooses. There are two species of the dwarf mongoose — common dwarf mongoose and desert dwarf mongoose. They are stocky, with a fairly short, pointed muzzle and a long, fluffy tail. Their fur color varies but they are usually speckled brown, reddish, or greyish in color.
Despite its small size, the dwarf mongoose is carnivorous.
They consume small rodents, reptiles, young birds, eggs, termites, locusts, beetles, grubs, larvae, and spiders. They may also include fruit in their diet. Most of the day is spent looking for food among the brush, leaves, and rocks.
They live in a female-dominated society.
A dominant female and her male consort, usually the oldest animals in the group, are the leaders of the group. The rest of the group is composed of family members, generally older offspring of the dominant pair. Each year the alpha female produces three litters of young, with two to four infants in each litter. The young of the dominant female are second in the group’s social system, tended for and cosseted by subordinate members. However, this status is immediately lost upon the arrival of a new litter. The babysitters, who guard and defend the young, often change during the day so that individuals may forage for food.
Dwarf mongooses are nomads.
They live in groups of 12 to 15 individuals, covering a range of approximately 75 acres that overlap with the ranges of other groups. A range usually contains 20 or more termite mounds, which are used as den sites, lookout posts, and sources of food. Groups seem to be constantly on the move through their range, seldom using a den site for more than a few days at a time.
Dwarf mongooses have made several adaptations to predators and threats.
They are known to form mutualistic relationships with other species to reduce the risk of predation. For example, they forage together with hornbills. The hornbills warn the mongoose of approaching danger, and in turn, the hornbills catch the flying insects that are disturbed by the mongoose. They have also shown adaptations to their nervous systems that makes them relatively immune from snakes with neurotoxic venom.