Yellow mongoose

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Yellow mongoose
Cynictis penicillata (Etosha, 2011).jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Herpestidae
Genus: Cynictis
Ogilby, 1833
Species:
C. penicillata
Binomial name
Cynictis penicillata
(Cuvier, 1829)
Yellow Mongoose area.png
Yellow mongoose range

The yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata), 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.

Contents

Yellow mongoose in Klipriviersberg, Johannesburg Yellow Mongoose Klipriviersberg Johannesburg.jpg
Yellow mongoose in Klipriviersberg, Johannesburg

Taxonomy

Herpestes penicillatus was the scientific name proposed by Georges Cuvier in 1829 for a mongoose specimen from the Cape. [2] The generic name Cynictis was proposed by William Ogilby in 1833 for a specimen collected in Kaffraria. [3] Cynictis penicillata is the only member of the genus, but as many as twelve subspecies of yellow mongoose have been described. [4]

Characteristics

In general, the yellow mongoose has lighter highlights on the underbelly and chin, a bushy tail, and a complete lack of sexual dimorphism. Southern yellow mongooses are larger, have yellow or reddish fur, longer fur, and a longer tail with a characteristic white tip. Northern subspecies tend towards smaller size, grey colouration, a grey or darker grey tip to the tail, and shorter hair more appropriate to the hotter climate.

Behaviour and ecology

Yellow mongoose Fuchsmanguste 2.jpg
Yellow mongoose

The yellow mongoose is primarily diurnal, though nocturnal activity has been observed. Living in colonies of up to 20 individuals in a permanent burrow complex, the yellow mongoose will often co-exist with Cape ground squirrels or suricates and share maintenance of the warren, adding new tunnels and burrows as necessary. The tunnel system has many entrances, nearby which the yellow mongoose makes its latrines.

The yellow mongoose is a carnivore, feeding mostly on termites, grasshoppers and crickets, but also on rodents and small birds. In urban environments in South Africa, it also forages among human food garbage. [5]

Social structure

A yellow mongoose in Lake District Wildlife Park, Cumbria, northwestern England Cynictis penicillata, Lake District Wildlife Park.jpg
A yellow mongoose in Lake District Wildlife Park, Cumbria, northwestern England

The social structure of the yellow mongoose is hierarchical, based around a central breeding pair and their most recent offspring. There are also subadults, the elderly, or adult relatives of the central pair. Male ranges tend to overlap, while females from other dens have contiguous non-overlapping ranges. Every day, the alpha male will mark members of his group with anal gland secretions, and his boundaries with facial and anal secretions, as well as urine. The alpha male also rubs his back against raised objects, leaving behind hair as a visual marker of territory. Other members of the group mark their dens with cheek secretions. A colony can have 20-40 members.

Predators

Predators of the yellow mongoose are birds of prey, snakes and jackals. When frightened, the yellow mongoose will growl and secrete from its anal glands. It can also scream, bark, and purr, though these are exceptions, as the yellow mongoose is usually silent, and communicates mood and status through tail movements.

Reproduction

Yellow mongooses mating Cynictis penicillata mating2.jpg
Yellow mongooses mating

The yellow mongoose's mating season is between July and September, and it gives birth underground between October and December, with no bedding material, in a clean chamber of the burrow system. Usually, two offspring are produced per pregnancy, and they are weaned at 10 weeks, reaching adult size after 10 months.

Rabies

There is some concern about the yellow mongoose's role as a natural reservoir of rabies. Most African wild animals die within several weeks of infection with rabies, but it seems that certain genetic strains of the yellow mongoose can carry it asymptomatically, but infectiously, for years. [6]

Related Research Articles

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Marsh mongoose species of mammal

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Stripe-necked mongoose species of mammal

The stripe-necked mongoose is a mongoose species native to forests and shrublands from southern India to Sri Lanka.

Egyptian mongoose Species of mammal

The Egyptian mongoose, also known as ichneumon, is a mongoose species native to the Iberian Peninsula, coastal regions along the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Turkey, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands in Africa. Because of its widespread occurrence, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Slender mongoose species of mammal

The slender mongoose, also known as the black-tipped mongoose or the black-tailed mongoose, is a very common species of mongoose of sub-Saharan Africa.

Cape gray mongoose species of mammal

The Cape grey mongoose, also called the small grey mongoose, is a small mammal native to South Africa, Lesotho and southern Namibia.

Common dwarf mongoose species of mammal, small African carnivore

The common dwarf mongoose, also called the dwarf mongoose, is a small African carnivore belonging to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). It is part of the genus Helogale and as such related to Helogale hirtula.

Indian grey mongoose species of mammal

The Indian grey mongoose is a mongoose species native to West Asia and on the Indian subcontinent. In North Indian languages (Hindi/Punjabi) it is called Nevlaa. The grey mongoose is commonly found in open forests, scrublands and cultivated fields, often close to human habitation. It lives in burrows, hedgerows and thickets, among groves of trees, and takes shelter under rocks or bushes and even in drains. It is very bold and inquisitive but wary, seldom venturing far from cover. It climbs very well. Usually found singly or in pairs. It preys on rodents, snakes, birds’ eggs and hatchlings, lizards and variety of invertebrates. Along the Chambal River it occasionally feeds on gharial eggs. It breeds throughout the year.

Javan mongoose Species of mammal

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Ruddy mongoose Species of mammal

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White-tailed mongoose species of mammal

The white-tailed mongoose is on average the largest species in the mongoose family (Herpestidae). It is the only member of the genus Ichneumia.

Selouss mongoose species of mammal

Selous's mongoose is a carnivore of southern Africa. It is the only member of the genus Paracynictis in the mongoose family.

Chinese ferret-badger species of mammal

The Chinese ferret-badger, also known as the small-toothed ferret-badger is a member of the Mustelidae, and widely distributed in Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and considered tolerant of modified habitat.

Cape ground squirrel Species of mammal

The Cape ground squirrel or South African ground squirrel is found in most of the drier parts of southern Africa from South Africa, through to Botswana, and into Namibia, including Etosha National Park.

Anne Rasa British ethologist

Olwen Anne Elisabeth Rasa is a British Ethologist, who rendered outstanding services to the knowledge of the social behavior of Dwarf mongoose.

References

  1. Do Linh San, E.; Cavallini, P. & Taylor, P. (2015). "Cynictis penicillata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . IUCN. 2015: e.T41597A45205726.
  2. Cuvier, G. (1829). "Les Mangoustes. Cuv. (Herpestes, Illiger)". Le règne animal distribué d'après son organisation, pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Paris: Chez Déterville. pp. 157–158.
  3. Ogilby, W. (1833). "Characters of a new Genus of carnivorous Mammalia from the collection of Mr. Steedman". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (Part 1): 48–49.
  4. Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Species Cynictis penicillata". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 564. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  5. Cronk, E.; Pillay, N. (2019). "Flexible Use of Urban Resources by the Yellow Mongoose Cynictis penicillata". Animals. 9 (7): 447. doi: 10.3390/ani9070447 .
  6. Taylor, P.J. (1993). "A systematic and population genetic approach to the rabies problem in the yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata)" (PDF). Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. 60 (4): 379–387. PMID   7777324.

Further reading