Jackson's mongoose

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Jackson's mongoose
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Herpestidae
Genus: Bdeogale
B. jacksoni
Binomial name
Bdeogale jacksoni
Thomas, 1894
Jackson's Mongoose area.png
Jackson's mongoose range

Jackson's mongoose (Bdeogale jacksoni) is a species of mongoose belonging to the genus Bdeogale . Discovered in 1889 by Frederick John Jackson, Oldfield Thomas in 1894 described it as Galeriscus jacksoni. It is most closely related to the black-footed mongoose of the same subgenus Galeriscus and both are sometimes united in a single species.


With a head and body length of more than 50 cm (20 in) and a body weight of 2–3 kg (4.4–6.6 lb), it is a large mongoose. Its long and dense fur is grizzled black and white, the cheeks, the throat and the sides of the neck are very yellowish, the legs are dark brown or black, and the bushy tail is white.

Jackson's mongoose feeds on rodents and insects, especially on army ants, and is mainly nocturnal and crepuscular and possibly solitary. Its distributional range in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania is limited to some arboreous mountain regions. It appears to be rare, and in 2008, the IUCN classified it as Near Threatened.


Galeriscus jacksoni was the scientific name proposed by Oldfield Thomas in 1894 based on a skin of a badger-like animal collected by Frederick John Jackson in Kenya. He specified the type locality as Mianzini in Maasailand at an elevation of 2,400 m (8,000 ft). [2] The generic name Galeriscus was recognised as a valid taxon by Paul Matschie, Glover Morrill Allen and Donovan Reginald Rosevear. [3] [4] [5] [1]

Jackson's mongoose was placed in the genus Bdeogale by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1916, who recognised that the animal was a mongoose and considered Galeriscus a synonym of Bdeogale. [6] This classification has been widely followed. [7] [8] [9] [10]


Jackson's mongoose is a large mongoose with a bushy tail. Its head and body length is 50.8–57.1 cm (20.0–22.5 in), its tail length is 28.3 to 32.4 centimeters, its hind foot length is 8.6 to 10.8 cm, its ear length is 2.3 to 3.5 cm and its body weight is 2–3 kg. [11] Young but already breeding animals may be markedly smaller than adults. From the black-footed mongoose, it is distinguishable by its much longer fur, especially on the tail, and yellowish tints on the neck and the throat. [10]

The long and dense dorsal fur is grizzled black and white. The dorsal hairs are 20 mm (0.79 in) long with black and white rings. The muzzle and the chin are brownish white and the cheeks, the throat and the sides of the neck are very yellowish. The legs are dark brown or black and the tail is white. The ventral side is light gray and the underfur is dense and woolly. The pinnae are round and broad and the muzzle is blunt. The rhinarium is large, and the hairless extension of the median groove divides the upper lip. The fore and hind feet have only four digits. A hallux and pollex are absent as is common with Bdeogale. The soles are naked, and the claws are thick and strong. [11]

The dentition of Jackson's mongoose is typical for mongooses. Three incisors, one canine, four premolars and two molars are on either side of each jaw. The total number of teeth is 40 and the dental formula is × 2 = 40. [11]

Distribution and habitat

Jackson's mongoose is distributed in central and southern Kenya and southeastern Uganda, where it was recorded in the Aberdare Range, Mount Kenya and the Mount Elgon mountains at elevations from 300 to 3,300 m (980 to 10,830 ft). [1] It inhabits lowland forests, bamboo and montane forests. [10] In Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains, it was first recorded in 2002 in the Matundu Forest. [12] [13]

Behaviour and ecology

Jackson's mongoose is mainly nocturnal and crepuscular. [10] In the Udzungwa Mountains, most of the 25 camera trap photos were taken by night. It is possibly solitary, but was also recorded in pairs and occasionally in groups of four. [13] Nothing is known about its reproduction. [11]

It probably hunts frequently in the thick herbaceous plant growth around swamps. [1] It is an omnivore. Analysis of 40 feces samples collected in the Aberdare Mountains revealed that they contained army ants, beetles, weevils, millipedes and caterpillars, rodents including Otomys , Dasymys and Praomys , as well as snails, lizards, and of snake eggs. The diet of juveniles consisted foremost of rodents and insects. [9] Feeding on army ants may be a recent evolutionary adaptation to this diet. [10]


Jackson's mongoose occurs in isolated populations and appears to be rare. [11] It has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2008, assuming a declining population size within the last 10 years due to habitat destruction. Given its dependence on forest habitat, its main threat is likely to be ongoing forest loss. It has been recorded in protected areas such Aberdare National Park, Mount Kenya National Park and Udzungwa Mountains National Park. It is suspected to also live in Mount Elgon National Park and probably more widely distributed than currently known. Full protection of forests adjacent to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and a survey in other groundwater-dependent forests in the region has been recommended. [1]

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Further reading