Overview

Distribution

Range Description

One of the most widely distributed African mongooses, ranging from Senegal in the west to the Red Sea coast in Sudan in the east and south to the Northern Cape in South Africa (Hoffmann and Taylor in press). Stuart (1981) mentions a museum record of this species from Mountain Zebra N.P., but this specimen is not mentioned in the studies of Watson and Dippenaar (1987) and Watson (1990), and their most southerly distribution limit is probably the far eastern part of the Eastern Cape in South Africa (Hoffmann and Taylor in press). Also occurs on Zanzibar (Stuart and Stuart 1998, Goldman and Winther-Hansen 2003). Ranges to 2,700 m asl in the Ethiopian Highlands (Yalden et al. 1996)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Body length, 27.5-40 cm; tail length, 23-33 cm.

As its common name, the "slender mongoose", implies, Galerella sanguinea is one of the smallest mongooses. Like other mongooses, it has short legs and a long, slim body. On average, males are 10-20% larger than females. They are usually reddish, yellowish or gray in color, more rarely dark brown, often speckled, and have a black or red tip of the tail. Ventral pelage ranges from pale yellowish-brown to white. There is considerable variability in coloration among subspecies, usually correlated with soil color for camouflage. They have finer, silkier fur than other African herpestids.(Parker, 1990)

The dental formula for G. sanguinea is 3/3, 1/1, 4/3, 2/2 = 38 (most closely related species have 4 lower premolars) (Taylor, 1975). The first upper premolar is small and occasionally absent; the carnassials are robust. It has five toes on both fore and hind feet.

Range mass: 350 to 900 g.

Average mass: 500 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 2.202 W.

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Type Information

Type for Galerella sanguinea
Catalog Number: USNM 164152
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): J. Loring
Year Collected: 1909
Locality: Mt. Kenia (=Kenya), W Slope, Kenya, Africa
Elevation (m): 2591
  • Type:
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Type for Galerella sanguinea
Catalog Number: USNM 182739
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Heller
Year Collected: 1912
Locality: Kaimosi, Kenya, Africa
  • Type:
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Type for Galerella sanguinea
Catalog Number: USNM 182732
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Heller
Year Collected: 1911
Locality: Maji-Ya-Chumvi, Kenya, Africa
  • Type: Allen, C. M. 1939. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 83: 221.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Present in a wide variety of habitats, but absent from true deserts and in sub-desertic parts of the Sahara such as Air, Niger. They occur on forest fringes, and may penetrate into forests along roads and are sometimes found around villages (Hoffmann and Taylor in press). Slender Mongooses are generalist carnivores, their diet primarily comprising small vertebrates and invertebrates (Hoffmann and Taylor in press).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Slender mongooses are not picky when it comes to habitat, inhabiting a wide variety of biomes within their broad geographic range. They seem to avoid dense tropical forest, but will live anywhere from "arid hills on which there is only a little stunted vegetation, or thick scrub or low forest, or level sandy plains whether comparatively open, bush-covered or lightly wooded." (Hinton, 1967)

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; scrub forest

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

G. sanguinea are opportunistic feeders. Insects make up the largest portion of the diet, supplemented by lizards, rodents, snakes, birds, amphibians, and fruit. (Smithers, 1983) They will eat carrion and eggs, which they crack open by propelling with the forefeet backward between the hind feet against a hard object. Like other mongooses, they are capable of killing large, venomous snakes, which they then eat, but these are not a significant portion of their diet.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
12.6 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 12.6 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived 12.6 years old in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005). Maximum longevity could be underestimated, though.
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Reproduction

A dominant male's range generally includes the range of several females. Scent cues inform him when a female is in estrus, and a brief courtship occurs. In Galerella sanguinea, the male takes no part in the raising of the young. (Macdonald, 1984)

Timing of pregnancy varies depending on the location and the subspecies, but reproductive activity seems to be concentrated in the period from October to April. Gestation period is believed to be 60-70 days. 2 young are usually born per pregnancy. (Taylor, 1975)

G. sanguinea are believed to reach sexual maturity between 1 and 2 years of age, and may live to be 10 years old.

Average gestation period: 65 days.

Average number of offspring: 2.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
365 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
365 days.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Hoffmann, M.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) and Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern as the species is common and widespread in a variety of habitats, there are no major threats, and it is present in several protected areas across the range.

History
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/least concern
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
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As a single species, G. sanguinea is widespread and not endangered. Little reliable information exists about most of its subspecies. As G. sanguinea is subject to the same pressures as its African herpestid and viverrid relatives, some of which are endangered, it is likely that some subspecies are threatened with extinction.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
Slender Mongooses are among the most common mongooses in Africa. In the Serengeti, population densities between 1975 and 1990 ranged from three to six individuals/km² (Waser et al. 1995).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to the species. They have been recorded in bushmeat markets (e.g., Colyn et al. 2004), and Cunningham and Zondi (1991) listed this species among those used in traditional medicine in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Present in numerous protected areas across their range.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

G. sanguinea is believed to be an important vector for rabies in East Africa. (Hinton, 1967) They will also kill domestic poultry when available. Mongooses have been the targets of extermination efforts for these reasons.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

They help to control insect and rodent pests. For this reason, other species of mongoose have been introduced around the world, but often do more harm than good.

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Wikipedia

Slender mongoose

The slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea), also known as the black-tipped mongoose or the black-tailed mongoose, is a very common species of mongoose.

Range and habitat[edit]

The slender mongoose, with up to fifty subspecies, are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with the Black mongoose of Angola and Namibia sometimes considered a separate species. They are adaptable and can live nearly anywhere in this wide range, but are most common in the savannah and semiarid plains. They are much rarer in densely forested areas and deserts.

Description[edit]

Slender mongoose in the Prague Zoo, Czech Republic.

As the name suggests, the slender mongoose has a lithe body of 27.5–40 cm (11–16 in) and a long tail of 23–33 cm (9–13 in). Males weigh 640-715 g (22-25 oz), while the smaller females weigh 460-575 g (16-20 oz).

The color of their fur varies widely between subspecies, from a dark reddish-brown to an orange red, grey, or even yellow, but these mongooses can be distinguished from other mongooses due to the prominent black or red tip on their tails. They also have silkier fur than the other African members of their family.

Behavior[edit]

The slender mongoose generally lives either alone or in pairs. It is primarily diurnal, although it is sometimes active on warm, moonlit nights. It doesn't seem to be territorial, but will nevertheless maintain stable home ranges that are often shared with members of related species. Indeed, the slender mongoose and these other species may even den together, as most of their relatives are nocturnal. Dens may be found anywhere sheltered from the elements: in crevices between rocks, in hollow logs, and the like.

Reproduction[edit]

A male's range will include the ranges of several females, and scent cues inform him when the female is in heat. The gestation period is believed to be 60 to 70 days, and most pregnancies result in one to three (usually two) young. The male does not help care for them.

Feeding[edit]

The slender mongoose is primarily carnivorous, though it is an opportunistic omnivore. Insects make up the bulk of its diet, but lizards, rodents, snakes, birds, amphibians, and the occasional fruit are eaten when available. It will also eat carrion and eggs. As befits the popular image of mongooses, the Slender Mongoose is capable of killing and subsequently eating venomous snakes, but such snakes do not constitute a significant portion of its diet.

Slender mongooses are more adept at climbing trees than other mongooses, often hunting birds there.

Conservation[edit]

The slender mongoose has been targeted by extermination efforts in the past, due to its potential to be a rabies vector and the fact that it sometimes kills domestic poultry. These efforts have not been conspicuously successful, although some subspecies may be threatened.

Overall, the slender mongoose is in no immediate danger of extinction, and the IUCN Red List evaluated it as least concern.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hoffmann, M. (2008). Herpestes sanguineus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
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