The Slender mongoose is a very common species of mongoose of sub-Saharan Africa. The color of their fur varies widely between subspecies, from a dark reddish-brown to an orange-red, grey, or even yellow. However, these mongooses can be distinguished from other mongooses due to the prominent black or red tip on their tails. They also have silkier fur than the other African members of their family.
Slender mongooses are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from Senegal in the west to the Red Sea coast in Sudan in the east and south to the Northern Cape in South Africa. They are adaptable and can live nearly anywhere in this wide range, but are most common in the savannah and semiarid plains. They can also live along roads and around human villages.
Slender mongooses generally live either alone or in pairs. They are primarily diurnal, although they are sometimes active on warm, moonlit nights. Slender mongooses don't seem to be territorial, but will nevertheless maintain stable home ranges that are often shared with members of related species. Indeed, Slender mongooses and these other species may even den together, as most of their relatives are nocturnal. Dens may be found anywhere sheltered from the elements: in crevices between rocks, in hollow logs, and the like. Slender mongooses are more adept at climbing trees than other mongooses, often hunting nesting birds there and eggs. When mongooses get excited, the hairs on their back and tail may be raised. They can hiss at one another, as well. When they are disturbed, they usually freeze, either on just their hind legs or on all four. When threatening predators these animals will spit and growl; when two mongooses attack each other they snarl. When females see their mate during the breeding season they produce a buzzing sound. The ‘huh-new’ is a distress call. Scent-marking is usually used for territorial purposes and mate marking.
Slender mongooses are primarily carnivorous, though they are opportunistic omnivores. Insects make up the bulk of their diet, but lizards, rodents, snakes, birds, amphibians, and the occasional fruit are eaten when available. They will also eat carrion and eggs.
Slender mongooses are polygynandrous (promiscuous) which means that both males and females have multiple mates. Breeding is seasonal and occurs during the short rain season in October-November or long rain season in February-April. Females usually produce 1-2 litters per breeding season consisting of 2-4 pups. The gestation period lasts around 57-65 days. Pups are born blind and weigh around 20 g. Their eyes open when they are 3 weeks old. They begin to eat solid food at about 28 days and are weaned at 55-71 days. Young become independent from their mothers when they are 6 months old. Males become reproductively mature at 10-12 months of age, while females reach maturity when they are 2 years old.
There are no major threats to Slender mongooses at present.
According to IUCN, Slender mongooses are abundant and widespread throughout their range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.