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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT

Ring-tailed Mongoose

The ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans) is a Euplerid that lives on the island of Madagascar. Although it is called a “mongoose”, it is really a closer relative to the fossa.

The ring-tailed mongoose is relatively small. It is 12.5 to 15 in (32 to 38 cm) long and weighs only 24 to 32 oz (700 to 900 g). Its body is long and slender, and the rounded head has a pointed snout. The body is a dark red color and the feet are black. Its bushy tail is covered with black and red rings.

Ring-tailed mongooses are very agile, and good climbers. They are quite playful and are active during the day. Their habitat consists of humid forests.

Their diet is mostly of small mammals, invertebrates, fish, reptiles and eggs. They occasionally eat insects and fruit. The population of Ring-tailed mongooses has decreased by 20% over the past ten years due to habitat loss. Another problem is competition with the small Indian civet.

Ring-tailed Mongoose