The yellow mongoose is a small mammal averaging about 1 lb (1/2 kg) in weight and about 20 in (500 mm) in length. A member of the mongoose family, it lives in open country. It resides from semi-desert scrubland to grasslands in Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
There are as many as twelve subspecies of yellow mongoose. In general, the yellow mongoose has lighter highlights on the underbelly and chin, a bushy tail. Southern yellow mongooses are larger. They have yellow or reddish fur, longer fur, and a longer tail with a characteristic white tip. Northern subspecies tend towards smaller size. They have grey coloration, a grey or darker grey tip to the tail, and shorter hair more appropriate to the hotter climate.
The yellow mongoose is carnivorous, consuming mostly arthropods, but they also consume other small mammals, lizards, snakes and eggs of all kinds on occasion.
The yellow mongoose is primarily diurnal, though nocturnal activity has been observed. They live in colonies of up to 20 individuals in a permanent underground burrow complex. The yellow mongoose will often co-exist with ground squirrels or suricates and share maintenance of the warren, adding new tunnels and burrows as necessary. The tunnel system has many entrances, nearby which the yellow mongoose makes its latrines.
The social structure of the yellow mongoose is hierarchical, based around a central breeding pair and their most recent offspring.
Predators of the yellow mongoose are birds of prey, snakes and jackals. When frightened, the yellow mongoose will growl and secrete from its anal glands. It can also scream, bark, and purr. Though, the yellow mongoose is usually silent, and communicates mood and status through tail movements.
The mating season of the yellow mongoose is between July and September, and it gives birth underground between October and December. Usually, two offspring are produced per pregnancy. They are weaned at 10 weeks, reaching adult size after 10 months.