Yellow mongoose

Common Name: Yellow mongoose

Scientific Name: Cynictis penicillata

Yellow mongooses forage for food alone, but spend their nights together in shared dens and help each other bring up their young.

These animals have a large territory and may use different burrow systems within the territory on different nights.

Yellow mongooses make a short barking call to alert others to danger.

Fast Facts

  • Status

    Least Concern

  • Size

    Head-body: 26.5-46 cm; tail: 15-29 cm

  • Weight

    715-900 g

  • Gestation

    60-62 days

  • Young


  • Life span

    Up to 15 years

In the wild

Yellow mongooses mainly eat insects, but they are opportunistic and will prey on a variety of animals if they get the chance, including rodents, birds, spiders and scorpions. These mongooses usually forage for food in the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late afternoon.

This species is found in several countries in Southern Africa, including Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. These animals live in semi-arid, open habitats, including grassland, scrub and savannah.  They need to live in habitats with soft or sandy soils so they can dig burrows.

Yellow mongooses give birth to between one and five young, although the usual litter size is two. Females give birth in nesting chambers in their burrows. Young from the previous year’s litter help to bring food to the infants for the first four weeks.  Young mongooses will go out foraging with adults for the first time when they are about eight weeks old. The young are able to find their own food at between 16 and 18 weeks of age.

Yellow mongooses are predated upon by a variety of predators such as snakes and birds of prey.

This species is found in many protected areas throughout its range and it doesn’t currently face any major threats.

Meet Marwell's Yellow mongoose

Meet Marwell's Yellow mongoose

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