The Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo) is a small carnivorous mammal found in central and eastern Africa. Other species of mongoose are found in Asia and Europe.
The Banded Mongoose is brown with rough fur, with a pointy nose, small ears, and a long furry tail. It has slightly darker bands, or stripes, along its back.
It can grow to a length of 30-45 centimetres (12-17 inches) with a 15-30 centimetre (6-12 inch) long tail.
The Banded Mongoose lives underground in burrows, called dens, in areas with open grasslands near water. The dens have several entrances so that they can escape danger quickly. They change their dens often. Sometimes the Banded Mongoose uses a termite mound for shelter.
It has long, strong claws that dig through the soil. Their claws do not retract, so they are always visible.
The mongoose species is mainly solitary, but the Banded Mongoose lives in a colony of about 20 individuals. Females are pregnant for 60-70 days, before giving birth to 2-4 babies.
Baby Banded Mongooses, called pups, stay in their dens for about four weeks before venturing outside. When a young mongoose first leaves its den, it is escorted by an adult to help it find food. After three months, the young mongooses can look for food (forage) by themselves.
It feeds on beetles, millipedes, termites, ants, grasshoppers, small mammals, birds, eggs, and reptiles, such as small lizards and snakes.
The Banded Mongoose is related to the Meerkat.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM