The average Liberian mongoose weighs about 2.3 kg and an average adult male is about 42.3 cm long with a tail 19.7 cm long. An adult female was measured to be 47.8 cm long, with a 20.5 cm long tail. The fur is mostly dark brown with a dark stripe bordered by two light stripes found on the neck. The throat is pale and the tail is slightly paler than the body. Liberian mongooses have strong, long claws, particularly on the forelimbs, which are used for digging in search of food. The claws on the forelimbs measure about 18 mm on the third and fourth toes, while the hind claws measure about 13 mm on the third and fourth toes. The muzzle is long, and can also be used for digging in the sand for insects. The pads of the feet are black and hairless. The primary differences between Liberiictis and its close relative, the cusimanse (Crossarchus), are that Liberiictis has stripes on the back of its neck, a more robust skull and body, smaller teeth, and longer ears. Liberiictis also has one more premolar than Crossarchus in both the upper and lower jaws.
(Nowak, 1990; Schliemann, 1990; Schlitter, 1974)
Average mass: 2.3 kg.
Range length: 42.3 to 47.8 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Habitat and Ecology
Liberian mongoose individuals have been found in areas with dense forests and plentiful streams. A burrow was documented occurring near a termite mound. (Nowak, 1999)
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
Other Habitat Features: riparian
Liberian mongoose individuals eat primarily insects, although they also eat worms, eggs, and small invertebrates in the wild. In captivity, these mongooses are known to eat ground meat, dog food, young chickens, and fish.
They have been observed foraging in streambeds and through leaf litter and decaying wood for food.
(Schliemann, 1990; Taylor, 1992)
Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Piscivore , Eats eggs, Insectivore , Eats non-insect arthropods)
Liberian mongooses are important predators of insects and other small animal in the ecosystems in which they live.
There is little known about natural predators of Liberiictis kuhni. Humans may be their primary predators currently. They are aggressive when confronted, deterring most predators.
Known prey organisms
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
The lifespan of Liberian mongooses is not documented.
Mating behavior in this species is unknown.
Liberian mongooses most likely breed during the rainy season, which is from May to September. (Nowak, 1999) Little is known about this species’ reproduction and development. A juvenile specimen showed that no permanent teeth had broken the gum line, although the deciduous teeth had come in. (Schlitter, 1974)
Breeding season: Breeding probably occurs from May through September, during the rainy season.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous
The young are cared for by their mother for some time after birth but little is known of parental care and the development of the young in these animals.
Parental Investment: female parental care
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Liberiictis kuhni
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Endangered(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Endangered(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Endangered(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
This species is extremely rare, and has been listed by the IUCN as endangered. Human destruction of their habitat and human hunting are the primary threats to Liberian mongooses. Owing to their rarity, they were not described until 1958, with the first complete specimens discovered as recently as 1974. An attempt to study them in 1988 yielded only one animal, which had already been killed by a hunter. More recent studies have been more successful in finding live mongooses, and one is currently living in the Metro Toronto Zoo. Political unrest in the areas in which they live has made further studies difficult in recent years, and much has yet to be discovered about the behavior of this animal in the wild, particularly in regard to its life cycle and communicative behavior.
(Nowak, 1999; Taylor, 1992)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
They can be fierce when caught in a snare.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Liberian mongooses are eaten by human hunters, which is one reason for their diminishing numbers.
Positive Impacts: food