The yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata ), sometimes referred to as the red meerkat, is a member of the mongoose family. It averages about 0.45 kg (1 lb) in weight and about 510 mm (20 in) in length. It lives in open country, semi-desert scrubland and grasslands in Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
The Yellow mongoose is a small African mammal. Its name comes from the color of its coat, which can, in fact, vary among subspecies from yellow to gray. A territorial animal, it defines its boundaries by using different forms of scent-markings. When communicating with others it uses tail movements, but is vocal when playful, angry or scared.
This species occurs throughout southern Africa in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. It prefers to live in habitats with open grassland, arid savanna, and scrub areas where it can find a wide range of prey to eat.
Yellow mongooses are primarily diurnal and spend most of their day foraging, though sometimes they are active at night. They rest or sunbathe outside their dens before going off to feed and travel. Living in permanent burrows, they often share them with meerkats and ground squirrels, although they can make very complex burrows. Yellow mongooses are a social species and the colonies they live in are usually focused on a family group of a male and female with their youngest offspring, along with subadults, very old adults, and other individuals that have an association with the group. The home ranges of males often overlap and are bigger than those of the females. They are quiet animals, though they will scream during fights, growl when threatened, bark, and purr. The tail may be a means of communication.
Yellow mongooses are carnivores; they mainly eat insects including, ants, termites, locusts, and beetles. They also eat birds, frogs, lizards, eggs, and small rodents, as well as fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Yellow mongooses are polygynous, which means that one male mates with multiple females. The breeding season in the wild is usually from July until late September, so most births occur from October to November. Gestation varies from 42 to 57 days. Females can have as many as 5 offspring but 2-3 are common. Young are born inside a chamber underground in the burrow, and are weaned by about 10 weeks old. It is unknown whether males participate in feeding and caring for the young. These animals are fully grown at 10 months old and can breed from 12 months old.
The Yellow mongoose is not faced with any major threats, though the impact of road deaths might be worth considering. In South Africa in the wild, they are a host (or carrier) of a strain of rabies. As a result, many farmers believe that they are a danger to them and their animals, resulting in much hunting of Yellow mongooses. They are also hunted in farmland areas in Western Cape, South Africa, because they are seen as a pest, due to burrowing in crop areas.
This species is relatively widespread and common throughout its range. According to the Kruger Park resource, the total population size of the Yellow mongoose is estimated to be around 100,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable.
Due to the diet, the Yellow mongoose may control the populations of insects, snakes, lizards, etc. They also serve as prey for the birds of prey, snakes, and jackals.