|Cape grey mongoose|
|on the plateau of Table Mountain|
|Galerella pulverulenta |
|Cape grey mongoose range|
The Cape grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta), also called the small grey mongoose, is a small mammal native to South Africa, Lesotho and southern Namibia.
It is a small species (55–69 cm long, weight range 0.5 – 1.0 kg). It is a dark grey colour with a darker tip of the tail. The legs are a darker grey than the rest of the body. It has a typical elongated mongoose body-shape. The ears are small and rounded and are situated on the sides of the head. The tail is long and bushy. The teeth show adaptations for both cutting and crushing.
The Cape grey mongoose feeds mostly on insects and small rodents, but will also eat birds, small reptiles, amphibians, other invertebrates, and fruit. They have been known to eat carrion and garbage as well.
It is predominantly insectivorous but also carnivorous. Insects and other arthropoda such as spiders are caught on the ground and then held down with the forefeet and eaten. Larger prey such as rodents are stalked and killed with a bite to the head. Large prey items are held down with the forefeet and then torn into bite size pieces with the teeth.
Small rodents, in particular Otomys and Rhabdomys, are their most important dietary component. On occasion, immature hares or the young of small antelopes such as Cape grysbok may be attacked.
Until a few decades ago, the species was thought to be endemic to the Cape Province, but it is now known to occur in much of the rest of South Africa and in the west, northwards to southern Angola. It is not yet clear how continuous the range is, nor how much of this wider presence is due to extension of its range. Its density in areas where the species is established, ranges from one mongoose per 60 hectares to one per two hectares.
It inhabits macchia-type vegetation (fynbos), semi-desert scrub (Karoo), thicket and forest. However, it is not found in the grassland biome. Often they live in close association with man, often under the floors of outbuildings, and even live successfully on the fringe of suburbia. When habituated to human presence, they may tolerate close approach.
The Cape grey mongoose is diurnal. When not breeding, it is solitary, but litter remains together in a family party at least until late adolescence. They live in overlapping home ranges of 5-68 ha, with the males having larger ranges than the females. However, it is not entirely clear whether this species is territorial or not, or whether it might be more social than generally believed. They are poor diggers so they utilize piles of rocks, crevices, deserted burrows and hollows in tree trunks for shelter when there is not sufficient bush cover. They are often spotted by humans when they cross roads.
Litters of 1 – 3 young are born from August to December and are hidden in burrows, rock crevices or tree hollows. At birth, the pups are fully furred but their eyes and ears are closed, only opening after about a fortnight. The young remain in the breeding burrow until they are fully weaned, and leave when they are capable of independence.
The meerkat or suricate is a small mongoose found in southern Africa. It is characterised by a broad head, large eyes, a pointed snout, long legs, a thin tapering tail, and a brindled coat pattern. The head-and-body length is around 24–35 cm (9.4–13.8 in), and the weight is typically between 0.62 and 0.97 kg. The coat is light grey to yellowish brown with alternate, poorly defined light and dark bands on the back. Meerkats have foreclaws adapted for digging and have the ability to thermoregulate to survive in their harsh, dry habitat. Three subspecies are recognised.
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The Cape fox, also called the asse, cama fox or the silver-backed fox, is a small fox, native to southern Africa. It is also called a South African version of a fennec fox due to their big ears.
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The giant otter shrew is a semiaquatic, carnivorous afrotherian mammal. It is found in the main rainforest block of central Africa from Nigeria to Zambia, with a few isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda. It lives in streams, wetlands and slow flowing larger rivers. It is the only species in the genus Potamogale. Otter shrews are most closely related to the tenrecs of Madagascar.
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The yellow mongoose, sometimes referred to as the red meerkat, is a member of the mongoose family. It averages about 1 lb (1/2 kg) in weight and about 20 in (500 mm) in length. It lives in open country, from semi-desert scrubland to grasslands in Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
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The lesser Egyptian gerbil is a small species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is native to North Africa and the Sinai Peninsula, where it lives in sandy habitats. It is a common species, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".
The Cape porcupine or South African porcupine, is a species of Old World porcupine native to central and southern Africa.
The African striped weasel, the lone member of its genus, is a small, black and white weasel native to sub-Saharan Africa.
Selous's mongoose is a mongoose species native to Southern Africa. It is the only member of the genus Paracynictis.
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The Cape spiny mouse is a murid rodent found in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. They have a dorsal covering of spiny hairs with dark grey-brown coloration, and a white underbelly. The Cape Spiny Mouse has large eyes and ears and a scaly, nearly bald tail that is brittle and can break off readily either as a whole or in part if it is caught. Their total length is 17 cm, with an 8 cm tail, and they typically weigh 22g.
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The Libyan jird is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is found in Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Western China. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, intermittent saline lakes, hot deserts, and rural gardens.
Brants's whistling rat or Brants' whistling rat is one of two species of murid rodent in the genus Parotomys. It is found in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa where its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and pastureland. It was first described in 1834 by the Scottish zoologist Andrew Smith who named it in honour of the Dutch zoologist and author Anton Brants.
Merriam's pocket mouse is a species of rodent in the family Heteromyidae. It is found in northeast Mexico and New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas in the United States. Its habitat is shortgrass prairie, desert areas with scrub and arid shrubland. The species is named to honor Clinton Hart Merriam, a biologist who first described several other members of the genus Perognathus, and first elucidated the principle of a "life zone" as a means of characterizing ecological areas with similar plant and animal communities.