Slender Mongoose, Galerella sanguinea

The slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea) is also called the black-tailed mongoose or black-tipped mongoose, and can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. There are approximately fifty subspecies within this range. They are able to adapt to most habitats within their range, but they prefer savannah and semiarid plains. They rarely occur in deserts or densely forested areas.

The slender mongoose has an average body length of between eleven to sixteen inches, with a tail length that can be up to thirteen inches. Males are slightly larger than females, weighing an average of twenty-two to twenty-five ounces, while females can weigh up to twenty ounces. Color variances occur widely between species, from grey, red, brown, and even yellow. The slender mongoose is distinct from other species because of a red or black tip on the tail. It has been found that their fur is softer than other members of the mongoose family.

Typically, the slender mongoose is diurnal, being active during day, but they can sometimes be seen on warm, moonlit nights. They prefer to live solitary lives, but will also live in pairs. Although territorial, these mongooses do not seem to be aggressive and will reside in habitats with members of similar species. The slender mongoose will live in dens that can be found in crevices, hollows in rocks or trees, and virtually anywhere that is sheltered. It often shares the dens with similar species that are active during the nighttime.

Male slender mongooses hold territories that overlap those of females, and know that a female is ready to mate by using scent cues placed around the area. It is thought that females will have a pregnancy that can last up to seventy days, after which a litter of up to three pups is born. The male mongoose will not help raise the pups.

The slender mongoose is typically a carnivore, although it has been known to eat omnivorously when needed. Its diet consists mainly of insects but it will also eat lizards, snakes, rodents, amphibians, eggs, carrion, and even fruit. As popular culture suggests, slender mongooses are able to quickly kill and devour poisonous snakes, but they do not make up a large percentage of its diet.

The slender mongoose has fallen victim to extermination due to its tendency to carry rabies and attack domestic poultry. These efforts have not always been successful, and some subspecies are endangered.  Fortunately, the slender mongoose has been listed on the IUCN Red List as of “Least Concern”.

Image Caption: Slender Mongoose (Galerella sanguinea). Also called Black-tipped Mongoose – it’s easy to see why! Credit: Chris Eason/Wikipedia(CC BY 2.0)