Nothing diminutive about a Dwarf Mongoose
Sara • 10/18/2023
These incredible creatures may be the smallest carnivores in Africa but there’s nothing diminutive about these cheeky chaps! They are often found living in old termite mounds where the temperatures remain pretty constant all year round making for a comfortable home with central heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.
The typical day of these little mammals begins when the alpha male comes out of the mound to check that the coast is clear. He’ll then pop into the mound to call the rest of the family out. He’ll then mark each of the group with a special anal gland – also used to mark territory. This is vital to ensure that he has no strays coming into his family group. In the evening he’ll check that there are no unwelcome visitors keen for a sleepover!
After basking on the eastern side of their termite mound in the early morning sun, they’ll move out to forage and constantly keep in touch with one another using whistles and twitters. If they spot a predator they’ll give off alarm calls to let the rest of the family know so that they can scrummage for cover.
The mongooses use a different alarm call for every different predator, allowing the rest of the family know where to expect the danger to be coming from – is it an eagle up top or a snake on the ground?Mongooses have a few symbiotic relationships.
The first is with the Hornbill as they’ll feed together on grubs and larvae and both look out for each other. The second is often with a Giant Plated Lizard, which are essentially housekeepers that eat the mongooses’ faeces thereby leaving the termite mound hygienic! How do the lizards win from this arrangement? Well, they have the benefit of obtaining left over nutrients from the faeces as well as having great lookouts in case of any danger.
The next time you see a dwarf mongoose, we hope you enjoy these new facts you can spurt about these canny creatures!