AppearanceAs the name suggests, the slender mongoose has a lithe body of 27.5–40 cm and a long tail of 23–33 cm . Males weigh 640-715 g , while the smaller females weigh 460-575 g .
The color of their fur varies widely between subspecies, from a dark reddish-brown to an orange red, grey, or even yellow, but 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.
StatusThe slender mongoose has been targeted by extermination efforts in the past, due to its potential to be a rabies vector and the fact that it sometimes kills domestic poultry. These efforts have not been conspicuously successful, although some subspecies may be threatened.
Overall, the slender mongoose is in no immediate danger of extinction, and the IUCN Red List evaluated it as least concern.
BehaviorThe slender mongoose generally lives either alone or in pairs. It is primarily diurnal, although it is sometimes active on warm, moonlit nights. It doesn't seem to be territorial, but will nevertheless maintain stable home ranges that are often shared with members of related species. Indeed, the slender mongoose 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.
HabitatThe slender mongoose, with up to fifty subspecies, are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with the black mongoose of Angola and Namibia sometimes considered a separate species. They are adaptable and can live nearly anywhere in this wide range, but are most common in the savannah and semiarid plains. They are much rarer in densely forested areas and deserts.
ReproductionA male's range will include the ranges of several females, and scent cues inform him when the female is in heat. The gestation period is believed to be 60 to 70 days, and most pregnancies result in one to three young. The male does not help care for them.
FoodThe slender mongoose is primarily carnivorous, though it is an opportunistic omnivore. Insects make up the bulk of its diet, but lizards, rodents, snakes, birds, amphibians, and the occasional fruit are eaten when available. It will also eat carrion and eggs. As befits the popular image of mongooses, the Slender Mongoose is capable of killing and subsequently eating venomous snakes, but such snakes do not constitute a significant portion of its diet.
Slender mongooses are more adept at climbing trees than other mongooses, often hunting birds there.
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