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Banded Mongoose, Botswana

Photographed in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, this banded mongoose was one of a fairly large colony which we observed just before sunset. They seem to be active and social animals and whilst we watched them, they spent much of their time foraging through leaf litter looking for insects and grubs.

Banded Mongoose facts

Distribution

The banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) is found in a large part of East, Southeast and South-Central Africa, with further populations in the northern savannas of West Africa.

Behaviour

While most mongoose species live solitary lives, the banded mongoose live in colonies with a complex social structure.  A group may consist of 7–40 individuals with the average being around 20 individuals.  Groups sleep together at night in underground dens, often abandoned termite mounds, and change dens frequently (every 2–3 days).  Whilst there is little aggression within a group there is clear territorial rivalry between different groups as they compete for food resources.

Diet

Living mostly in savannas, open forests and grasslands, it feeds primarily on beetles and millipedes but will also take small reptiles, and birds, frogs, and the eggs of both birds and reptiles.

Conservation Status

Unlike many species, it has actually benefited from the development of agriculture in Africa where farmland crops become an extra food source resulting in banded mongoose numbers increasing.  The species is rated by the IUCN as of “least concern”.

Banded Mongoose.  Canon 5D with 70-300 zoom at 300mm F5.6,  shutter speed 1/320 second at ISO 800.

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