Long-nosed cusimanse or common cusimanse (Crossarchus obscurus) is a small, diurnal member of the mongoose family. It is sometimes referred to as a dwarf mongoose.
The long-nosed cusimanse has a vaguely weasel-shaped body with dark brown fur that is thick. It has a wiry texture down the back, and is fine and soft on the underside. It has short legs. It has a short, relatively stiff tail, long claws, small ears, small, dark colored eyes, and an elongated nose. Adult size is typically around 13 in (33 cm) with a weight of approximately 2.2 lb (1 kg).
The long-nosed cusimanse is a highly social animal that lives in a small family group of 10 to 20, or more individuals. It has a strict hierarchical structure. The members of the family group communicate through various vocalizations including whistles, chirps and growls.
It is capable of climbing, but tends to restrict most of its activities to the ground. It is very territorial, and will mark the group’s territory with anal scent glands. They defend the territory vehemently against intruders, even those of a much larger size. It has a variety of threat displays that include various growls and snorts. They also use physical movements such as lunging, back arching, and hair erection. The group is nomadic, not spending much time in one particular area of their territory. As they move from place to place, they find shelter in tree hollows, other animal’s burrows, or termite mounds.
Distribution & Habitat
The long-nosed cusimanse is found in the West African countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. It has been exported to various other countries for the pet trade.
It differs from other mongoose primarily in its choice of habitat that is generally forested areas near water. Most species of mongoose tend to prefer open grasslands, or semi-arid brush. It can be found from sea level to elevations of 3280 ft (1000 m).
Cusimanse are active foragers, and excellent diggers, which feed on a wide variety of things. Their diet is primarily carnivorous. The diet consists of insects, larvae, fresh water crabs, small reptiles, and small rodents. They have excellent eyesight and keen sense of smell. This makes them good small prey hunters. They prefer to kill their prey with a single bite to the back of the neck. They will also consume various types of fruits and berries in small quantity.