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Yellow Mongoose

Yellow Mongoose Video

Yellow Mongoose
Yellow Mongoose at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton-in-Furness, UK
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Yellow Mongoose Range Map (Africa)
Yellow Mongoose Range Map (Africa)

Yellow Mongoose
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

Yellow Mongoose
Latin Name Cynictis penicillata
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location Southern Africa
Colour Yellowish/Tawny/Grey
Length 23 - 33 cms (9 - 13 inches)
Tail 18 - 25 cms (7 - 10 inches)
Weight 450 - 800 g (16 - 29 oz)
Life Expectancy Up to 15 Yrs (in Captivity)

Main Characteristics

Yellow Mongoose are small mammals and they have a body length between 23 and 33 cms (9 - 13 inches), a tail length between 18 and 25 cms (7 - 10 inches) and they weigh between 450 and 800 g (16 - 29 oz).

Their coat is coloured yellowish/tawny/grey with their underside, chin and limbs being lighter in colour. Their tail is bushy with a white tip and they have rounded ears. They have 5 digits on their forefeet and 4 on their hind. On their forefeet the underside is bare and they have longer claws, while on the hind, the claws are shorter and the foot is covered in hair.

There is no noticeable difference in appearance between males and females and the Yellow Mongoose is smaller than most other mongooses.

When they feel threatened they will growl and secrete from their anal glands. They can also, bark, scream and purr although they are mainly quiet and usually communicate through tail movements.


The Yellow Mongoose is found throughout southern Africa with highly populated areas being Namibia, Botswana, Angola, South Africa and Zimbabwe. They live on dry, open grasslands and semi-desert scrub land.

They live in colonies of up to 20 individuals in a permanent underground complex of burrows. They often cohabit with meerkats and ground squirrels, sharing maintenance of the burrow and adding new tunnels as necessary. The burrow has many entrances and the Yellow Mongoose will make a latrine near one of them.

The social structure of the Yellow Mongoose is based around a central breeding pair and their most recent offspring. There will be other adults in the group such as more elderly mongoose and adult relatives of the alpha pair, these are known as subadults.

The ranges of males will overlap, but those of females do not. The alpha male will mark members of his group each day and the boundaries of his range with anal secretions, urine and faeces. He will also rub his back against objects in his range leaving behind hair as a visual marker of his territory.


The Yellow mongoose mainly feeds upon insects including, ants, termites, beetles and locusts. Their diet also consists of birds, frogs, lizards, small rodents and eggs.


Mating occurs between July and September and after a gestation period of 42 - 57 days, 2 young are born in a cleared out underground den. They are weaned after 10 weeks and are fully grown by the time they reach 10 months old.


Predators of the Yellow Mongoose include birds of prey, jackals, and snakes.


Up to 12 subspecies of Yellow Mongoose have been recognized and they are mainly distinguished by their size, colour, length of tail and hair.

Northern subspecies of Yellow Mongoose tend to be greyish/yellow in colour with a shorter tail that has no white tip, while the southern subspecies tend to be larger with a tawny/yellowish coloured coat.

The subspecies are:

Cynictis penicillata bechuanae
Cynictis penicillata brachyura
Cynictis penicillata bradfieldi
Cynictis penicillata cinderella
Cynictis penicillata coombsi
Cynictis penicillata intensa
Cynictis penicillata kalaharica
Cynictis penicillata karasensis
Cynictis penicillata lepturus
Cynictis penicillata ogilbyii
Cynictis penicillata pallidior
Cynictis penicillata penicillata

Interesting Facts

Yellow Mongoose are also known as:
Red Meerkat

Similar Animals

Bushy-Tailed Mongoose
Black-Footed Mongoose
Marsh Mongoose
Jackson's Mongoose
Pousargues's Mongoose
Slender Mongoose
Dwarf Mongoose


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