The Crossarchus Genus

Crossarchus obscurus, the common or long-nosed kusimanse

Today’s mongooses are the four species in the genus Crossarchus, known as the kusimanses or dwarf mongooses (although there are other mongooses called ‘dwarf’ so that’s not helpful). They all inhabit central and west Africa, especially around Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana type area.

They live principally in forests, especially near sources of water, so that they sometimes coexist with the marsh mongoose discussed yesterday.Their appearance is also somewhat similar, with coarse dark brown fur.

Crossarchus obscurus again

Crossarchus obscurus again

The most obvious difference is size: kusimanses, as you might guess from the ‘dwarf mongoose’ name, are quite small, weighing only about 1 kg, against the marsh mongooses 2 or 3. Also, the long-nosed kusimanse depicted here has quite a long nose.

The other big difference is that they tend to live in groups, with three or so families combining into a band of 10 to 24 individuals, contrasting with the solitary marsh mongoose. Plus, there’s no mention of any foul-smelling liquids.

As I said, there are four species – the common or long-nosed kusimanse, the flat-headed kusimanse, the Angolan kusimanse, and Alexander’s kusimanse. However the latter three are much rare and hence there are no pictures of them. Direct complaints to Alexander.

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All the available photos are of this one species 😦

One Response to “The Crossarchus Genus”

  1. Ruddy and Long-Nosed « Directionless Bones Says:

    […] and the ruddy mongoose (Herpestes smithii). The long-nosed mongoose, not to be confused with the common kusimanse, also called ‘long-nosed mongoose’, is another of the species that inhabits west and […]


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