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Dwarf Mongoose

Dwarf Mongoose
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul van Slooten (pvs) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-02-19
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Sony Alfa dSLR A100, Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX APO DG, Digital RAW 200, UV Filter
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/60 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Krugerpark feb/mar 2007
Date Submitted: 2007-04-12 10:37
Viewed: 4557
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
DWARF MONGOOSE, Helogale parvula

The smallest African carnivore, size and color of a red squirrel. Muscular build with medium length legs and 5 toed feet equipped with long claws. male wt 11.4 oz (326 g), body length 9.5 in (24 cm); female 11 oz (315.5 g), body length same as male. Tail almost same as head and body length, tapering to point. Head short and broad with pointed nose, broad, rounded ears. Teeth adapted for insect diet. Coat smooth, glossy, uniform reddish brown to grizzled (rarely black); pink nose.

Southern Savanna and adjoining Somali Masai and South West Arid Zones, sea level to 6500 ft (2000 m), from Somalia and Ethiopia to South Africa and Namibia.

Common around wildlife lodges and dwellings inside national parks, as in Serengeti NP, Tanzania, and Tsavo NP, Kenya, both being places where this mongoose was studied.

Preferred habitat includes numerous termite mounds, woody vegetation in the form of thickets, open woodland, or scattered bush. Up to 80 dwarf mongooses/mi, square (31/km. square), highest density of any African carnivore. Diet mainly beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, termites, spiders, and scorpions; occasionally small rodents, snakes, lizards, and birds; also fruits and some vegetables. Water independent but drinks when it can.

Strictly diurnal, schedule subject to weather conditions. Packs begin and end day sunbathing and socializing at burrows.

Dwarf mongooses live in packs with 1 breeding pair. Their offspring are cooperatively reared by relatives and immigrants. In Serengeti NP, average pack size is 8.4 (range 2 18), including 2 to 3 adult males, 3 to 4 adult females, and 2 to 3 juveniles. Packs occupy permanent territories averaging 85 acres (34 ha), including 10 to 30 termite mounds used as refuges and dens. In dry tree savanna territories are as large as 395 acres (160 ha). The breeding pair, usually the senior male and female, monopolize breeding as long as they remain dominant (several years). The female leads the pack; the male is most alert to danger and intrusions by rival packs. Other members feed and care for offspring, freeing the mother for extra feeding time she needs to keep producing milk. Unrelated immigrants give the alpha pair's offspring the same quality care as blood relations give, a special exception to the rule that cooperative care is based on kinship. Reasons why: · Limited options. Available habitat is usually fully occupied, sharply limiting opportunities to found a new pack. Offspring that try suffer higher mortality than those that stay home or join another pack. · Nonbreeders waiting their turn to become dominant can often get into a shorter queue by transferring from their natal pack. Most transfers occur between 2 and 3 years of age, during the rains. · The investment in rearing unrelated young is repaid in kind when immigrants start breeding. · Relations with neighbors are hostile and larger groups displace smaller ones when they meet,usually at a border, where next door packs use the same termite mounds on a first come, first served basis.

Very agile and active, this mongoose often moves at a fast trot, flees in the usual jump run, high jumps 1 yd, and climbs well for a mongoose.

In thornbush of eastern Kenya, an amazing association between dwarf mongoose and two bush hornbills (Tockus flavirostis and T. erythrorhynchus) has been documented. They forage together hornbills catch insects, rodents, and other prey flushed by the pack and in return serve as lookouts, sounding alarm calls when avian predators are sighted. The association is so mutually beneficial that particular birds and packs associate daily; hornbills gather at termite mound where their pack spent the night and wait for mongooses to emerge (birds even give wake up calls). If hornbills fail to appear, mongooses hesitate to leave refuge and begin foraging. Dwarf mongooses uncover invertebrate prey by scratching like chickens in leaf and grass litter and around logs and trees. Pack forages on a front, every mongoose for itself, keeping in vocal contact.

Seasonal, 2 to 3 1itters of l to 6 young (average 2.9) during rainy season (Oct. May) in Serengeti NP. Gestation 5 weeks; mother mates again within 2 to 4 weeks. Yearlings can breed but few reproduce before age 2. Subordinate females sometimes mate, typically when alpha's 4 day estrus stimulates them to come into heat. The alpha female also mates with other males if her mate loses interest near the end of estrus.

Males rarely become visibly pregnant, and those that do either abort or lose litters through infanticide. Extra lactating females help suckle alpha's offspring. Babies emerge from den at 3 weeks, begin foraging with pack at 5 to 6 weeks. Until then, parents spend less time with babies than helpers, which take turns babysitting while pack forages. Weaning at 6 to 7 weeks.

Birds of prey, particularly goshawks, and snakes. Even slender mongooses are a threat to babies; pack mobs any that prowl near den with young.

ralfsworld, PaulH, vanderschelden, Watershed, ramthakur, Alex99, Hil, Adanac, clnaef, marieproue has marked this note useful
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To ralfsworld: colorpvs 1 04-12 10:48
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Critiques [Translate]

Nice shot of this little mongoose, Paul.
Really interesting that I have seen this kind of animals in Central Africa and they where in brown-reddish colours.
Pose, details and colours are really good.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-04-12 10:46]

Hi Paul,

i've never seen on of these before... i love the symbiotic relationship with the Hornbills you mention in your note. Great shot, this type of photo reminds me of one of the reasons why i joined TN in the first place...to learn!



A cute Mongoose species. Never met before.
Well composed image.
TFS Paul.

Hi Paul,
Very nice capture and well composed. Great details and colors. Excellent low POV. Well done and TFS,

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2007-04-12 12:45]

Hi Paul,
Great shot of this cute animal, I have seen hem them but they were too fast to make a shot of them.
Great work.

Very good shot, Paul.
You have captured the little guy in a lovable posture with the head up and eyes focused on something interesting ahead.
Well done and TFs.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-04-12 15:35]

Hi Paul.
Reproduction of this cute animal is simply perfect despite its dark colour tone. Great sharpness and details, wonderful pose and state of mood. Have you used a tripod? FL=500 mm and ET=1/60s: it is great. Note is perfect too. My best wishes and TFS.

Hi Paul.
Pretty shot, beautiful Mongoose.I like this a lot. Wwel done. tfs. Stev

  • Great 
  • Hil Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
  • [2007-04-12 18:18]

Hi Paul

What a great shot of this cute little Critter, nicely presented with a great pose and POV, nice sharp detail and very nice colours too. Thanks for introducing him to us all as i have not seen a Dwarf one before.

TFS Hilary :o)

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-04-12 23:12]

Hello Paul,
Great image, Superb note, allaround fantastic posting, thanks.

Voilà un animal qui semble perdu dans les herbes.
Bonne journée.

Hello Paul,
I want to go to Kruger and I want a Mongoose at home!!! He could have fun with my cats, birds and raccoons :-) What an interesting little fellow :) He has such a cute face and beautiful ears and eyes, wow! This is a very nice capture of this "water independent"(?) animal... How an animal can be water independent? Nature is such a great mystery to me. This is very well done with most interesting notes, beautiful pose from this little one and great details and exposure. TFS,

Magnifique bestiole qui semble surprise en sortant de son terrier, beaucoup de netteté et superbe POV.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-04-13 21:55]

Hello Paul

Lucky you.A wonderful capture of this mongoose.The focus and details are sharp.Very nicely composed.A rarity here on TN.Excellent informative notes.Congratulations.TFS


  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2007-04-14 11:40]

Hola Paul.- Bella y nitida foto. Interesante nota la que hoy nos escribes. Algo nuevo por aprender.

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