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Cape Gray Mongoose[1]
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Herpestidae
Subfamily: Herpestinae
Genus: Galerella
Species: G. pulverulenta
Binomial name
Galerella pulverulenta
(Wagner, 1839)

The Cape Grey Mongoose, also the Small Grey Mongoose, (Galerella pulverulenta) is a mongoose endemic to South Africa.[2]

Contents

Appearance

It is a small species (55-69 cm long, weight range 0.5 – 1.0 kg). It is a dark grey colour with the tip of the tail being darker. The legs are a darker grey than the rest of the body. It has a typical elongated mongoose body-shape. The ears are small and rounded and situated on the sides of the head. The tail is long and bushy. The teeth show adaptations for both cutting and crushing.

Diet and Hunting Behaviour

The Cape grey mongoose feeds mostly on insects and small rodents, but will also eat birds, small reptiles, amphibians, other invertebrates, and fruit. They have been known to eat carrion and garbage as well.

It is predominantly insectivorous but also carnivorous. Insects are caught on the ground and then held down with the forefeet and eaten. Large prey such as rodents are stalked and killed with a bite to the head. Larger prey items are held down with the forefeet and then torn into bite size pieces with the teeth.

Habitat

It inhabits macchia-type vegetation (fynbos), semi-desert scrub (Karoo), thicket and forest. However, it is not found in the Grassland biome. Often they live in close association with man, often under the floors of outbuildings, and even live successfully on the fringe of suburbia.

Behaviour

The Cape grey mongoose is solitary and diurnal. They live in overlapping home ranges of 5-68 ha, with the males having larger ranges than the females. However, it is not entirely clear whether this species is territorial or not. Poor diggers, they utilize piles of rocks, crevices, deserted burrows and hollows in tree trunks for shelter when there is not sufficient bush cover. They are often spotted by humans when they cross roads.

Reproduction

Litters of 1 – 3 young are born from August to December and hidden in burrows, rock crevices or tree hollows. At birth the pups are fully furred, but their eyes and ears are closed, opening after about a fortnight. The young remain in the breeding burrow until they are fully weaned, and leave when they are capable of independence.

References

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14000530.  
  2. ^ a b Hoffmann, M. (2008). Herpestes pulverulentus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 22 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
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