DWARF MONGOOSE - Helogale parvula

SIZE: Length (including tail) 38 cm, mass 300 g.

COLOUR: From reddish-brown to dark brown, flecked with grey, the underparts are usually a little lighter.

MOST LIKE: The Banded Mongoose, but is uniform dark brown and not grey-brown with dark crossbands. The Dwarf Mongoose is also considerably smaller.

HABITAT: Savanna, semi-desert, dry open woodland and bush country associated with the presence of termite mounds, fallen trees and rocky outcrops.

They like to lie quietly in the early morning either on the ground or on fallen logs close to their shelters. Their permanent shelters may be a burrow deep underground, often with its entrance disguised by a rock pile or heap of vegetable refuse. They use temporary shelters if alarmed while far from home: the alarm call is first given by a male stationed at a vantage point, and is then echoed among the troop. They include snakes in their diet, attacking and killing them in a communal effort. They break open birds eggs by holding the egg in their forelegs, then catapulting it backwards between their hindlegs onto a rock, much in the way that the Banded Mongoose does. Mongoose also feed on insects, reptiles and small mammals.

They are diurnal, seldom moving out of their holes until the sun is well up, and retiring to their burrows before sunset. They are not seen in cold, rainy or overcast weather.

DISTRIBUTION
Dwarf Mongoose are the smallest species of mongoose living in southern Africa, and they live in colonies of 8 - 30 members. These animals are gregarious and very vocal, communicating with each other continuously with a wide range of twitters and whistles as they scuttle about looking for food. Members of the troop use their incisor teeth to groom either each other or themselves.

WILDLIFE PARKS
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