The Genus Mungos

Today we examine one of the most recognisable and familiar mongooses, the banded mongoose, Mungos mungo, along with its close relative the Gambian mongoose, Mungos gambianus. Like all the other mongooses discussed so far, these are African species (we’ll get to the Asians in a while). They roughly divide sub-Saharan Africa between them, with west Africa being home to the Gambians and central, eastern, and southern Africa belonging to the banded.

These mongooses are identifiable by the stripes on their back (hence the name), and are otherwise fairly normal, upstanding, fine specimens of a mongoose. They mainly live in drier areas, shrubland, grassland, etc, rather than forests and marshes like Atilax or Crossarchus.

They live in large groups of about 30 individuals, and, just as Helogale parvula had a symbiotic relationship with hornbills, banded mongooses have a symbiotic relationship with baboons. They forage together, again benefitting from complementary sensory equipment, and baboons often pick up and stroke mongooses, which the mongooses don’t seem to mind (I know! Squee!).

Banded mongooses are an example of an animal species that has benefitted from human expansion, since the spread of farmland provides them with more accessible food. In this respect they resemble foxes or racoons – small, adaptable foragers.

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