Overview

Brief Summary

MammalMAP: Cape Grey mongoose

This widespread species has an elongated body with varying tints of grey to give it a grizzled appearance.  Its small, round ears are situated on the sides of its long head that ends in a pointed muzzle.   Its long, bushy tail is usually held parallel to the ground.

Cape grey mongoose is solitary and feeds predominantly on rodents and insects.  Although, they do supplement their diet with birds, reptiles and other opportunistic prey items.

These mongooses are diurnal and only occasionally seen in pairs during mating season.  They use ground holes made by other species as dens for their litter of 1 -3 young from August to December.

The IUCN Red List classifies Cape grey mongoose as a species of least concern in terms of conservation priorities.  They have a wide habitat tolerance and are often seen along urban fringes.  Chances are that  if you haven’t seen a Cape grey mongoose before, you clearly need to get out more.

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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to southern Africa, ranging throughout the Northern Cape (with one record from near the Botswana border), Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa, with a marginal intrusion into southern Namibia, east to Lesotho and extreme western KwaZulu-Natal (Cavallini 2013). In 1990, an animal was trapped in Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga, 200 km north of known records in KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho (Bronner 1990). It is present from sea level around the Western Cape to 1,900 m asl in KwaZulu-Natal (Cavallini 2013).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species has a wide habitat tolerance,although it is essentially found in Karoo and karroid bushveld and sclerophyllous scrub(Cavallini 2013). They are often associated with refuge areas, such as dense bushes and rocky outcrops, and avoid open fields with short vegetation (Cavallini and Nel 1990a, 1995; Do Linh San and Somers unpublished data). Some radio-tracked individuals used riverine Combretum forests as nocturnal sheltersleeping in hollow Combretum caffrum treesand as foraging grounds during the day (Do Linh San and Somers unpublished data). They are sometimes seen close to human settlements, foraging in gardens and sleeping in attics (E. Do Linh San pers. obs. 2006). They have a catholic diet, though their primary food is generally small mammals or insects (Cavallini and Nel 1990b, Do Linh San et al. unpublished data).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 11.7 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived 11.7 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005). Maximum longevity could be underestimated, though.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2015

Assessor/s
Do Linh San, E. & Cavallini, P.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. & Hoffmann, M.

Contributor/s
Hoffmann, M.

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern because it is common and adaptable, with a catholic diet, there are no major threats, and it is present in a number of protected areas in its range.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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Population

Population
It is common. Densities of up to 10 individuals/km2have been recorded in suitable habitat (Cavallini and Nel 1990a).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to the species.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It occurs in a number of protected areas in its range, including the West Coast, Addo Elephant and Mountain Zebra National Parks, as well as the Great Fish River Reserve Complex.
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