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Facts About Yellow Mongoose

Rajib Singha
With a face that is triangular-shaped, and a tail that stays horizontal to the ground, the yellow mongoose is one of the important animal species of the ecology of the South African region.
Also known as Cynictis penicillata, the yellow mongoose belongs to the species of small mammals in the wild. On an average, the animal can grow up to a length of 16-19 inch, and can weigh up to 450-900 g. Also, the tail of an average adult can be about 180-250 mm. This mammal does not exhibit any physical characteristics, which can be used to distinguish the male from the female. However, there are some differences between the species belonging to different regions.
For instance, a mongoose that inhabits the southern region, usually wears a reddish-yellow coat, and has longer fur, along with a longer tail. And its tail would have a distinct sign of a white tip. But these physical characteristics differ from that of the one from southern part of the land.
This one would generally have a smaller size, short fur, and would be gray in color. The tip of its tail, instead of being white, would be pale or a darker gray.

Yellow Mongoose Information


Let us begin with the places that are inhabited by these animal. Regions in South Africa such as dry, and open grasslands provide for an ideal shelter for these animals. Experts have also found that semi-dry scrub lands are also populated by the yellow mongoose.
Farmland and even hilly areas make up for the habitat. In these areas, they survive the weather and predation, by building underground burrows. And these burrows are made for good or they are permanent. These animals, however, tend to avoid deserts, thick bush and forests.


Given to the animal's carnivorous nature, its diet mainly consists of a variety of insects, favorite being ants, termites, beetles, locusts, and other arthropods. Their menu also consists of small rodents, lizards, small birds, frogs, eggs, and needless to say, its sworn enemy, snakes.

Social Behavior

Yellow mongooses are known for their social behavior. Typically, there would be 20 individuals in a group living together. And the whole family runs on hierarchy, and this is determined by a central breeding pair and their recent offspring. These mammals also exhibit territorial behavior, and are particular about the members in their group.
For example, as animal enthusiasts have been able to observe, every day the dominant male or the leader would mark each of the members in its group with its anal secretions. It leaves olfactory markings of its territory by marking its boundaries with anal secretions or urine. And as far as visual markings are concerned, the dominant male leaves behind its hair by rubbing its back onto a surface.


The period between the months of July and September kicks off the breeding season of this mongoose species. The female delivers her young post a gestation period of 42 - 57 days. The birth takes place in the time between October to January.
Typically, a mother gives birth to two offspring, and unlike most other animals, the birth takes place in a neat and clean chamber of the burrow, without any kind of bedding material whatsoever. Babies are raised on mother's milk till about a little more than one and a half months. And within 10 months, the babies are fully grown.

Some Quick Facts

  • Natural predators of the yellow mongoose include large hunting birds, snakes and jackals
  • Upon sensing danger, these mammals communicate by screaming, barking and even purring. Although such incidences have rarely been observed
  • Typically, these animals communicate by tail movements
  • Incidences have also occurred when experts have observed that these mammals often share their living space with meerkats and ground squirrels. As when required, they would add new tunnels in the burrow system, as well
  • It is also known as Red Meerkat
  • The animal remains active during day light thus, is diurnal
To conclude with one more fact, these animals usually choose the entrances of their burrows as the place of excretion. I wonder what their guests have to say about this!