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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 15:08 EDT

Cape Grey Mongoose, Galerella pulverulenta

The Cape grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta), also known as the small grey mongoose, is native to southern Africa. Until recently, it was thought to occur only in the Cape Province, but now it is known to inhabit other areas of South Africa, with a northern range that stretches into Angola. It prefers a habitat in areas with green vegetation like semi-arid scrublands and forested areas.  It has not been found in grassland areas, however, and is commonly seen under human structures. The Cape grey mongoose appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”

The Cape grey mongoose can reach an average body length of up to 2.2 feet with a weight between 1.1 and 2.2 pounds. Its body is long and slender, which is typical to mongoose species, and it bares small ears and a bushy tail. Its fur is dark grey in color, with the tip of the tail holding a darker color than the rest of the body.

The Cape grey mongoose is typically active during the day and leads a solitary life when not breeding or raising young. Both males and females hold territories that range between 12.3 to 168 acres, with males holding larger ranges than females. Even though this species holds home ranges, it is not known if individuals are territorial or not. Because this species is not skilled at digging, dens that have been previously built are used. These can occur under piles of rocks, in thick bushes, hollow trees, and in abandoned dens. During the months of August to December, one to three young will born within these dens where the remain until they are weaned.

The diet of the Cape grey mongoose consists mainly of small rodents and insects, but it will consume fruit, small birds, amphibians, and reptiles. It has even been recorded consuming garbage and carrion. This species will hold down insects, like spiders, with their back feet in order to eat, but rodents and other larger prey must be hunted and killed before consumption. The most important part of this species diet is small rodents like Rhabdomys and Otomys species.

Image Caption: Herpestidae Galerella pulverulenta Small Grey Mongoose. Credit: JonRichfield/Wikipedia  (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cape Grey Mongoose Galerella pulverulenta