THE CAPE GREY MONGOOSE

The Cape grey mongoose (Herpestes pulverulentus) is a small mammal indigenous to Southern Africa and is the most commonly spotted mongoose on Val de Vie Estate.

DID YOU KNOW?

They are predominantly carnivorous mainly eat insects, serving as important agents for biocontrol by consuming so-called ‘pests’. On their menu is ground birds, small reptiles, amphibians, eggs and fruit. There have been records of Cape grey mongoose stalking and killing puff adders.

They belong to the same scientific family as the meerkat (Herpertidae). Although these two distance cousins look alike and have the same taste in food, they are actually very different. For instance, meerkats are highly sociable and live in groups of up to 30 members, while mongoose are solitary creatures.

These little mammals might seem timid and fragile, but they are highly skilled and opportunistic hunters. Their hunting style is similar to a cat’s as they will crouch, stalk, pounce on their prey and eventually go in for the kill with a deadly bite to the head.

While they have five sharp claws on each of its toes, their tracks only show four.

They weigh between 0.5 and 1kg and their slender bodies as roughly 35cm long. Their bushy tails are about the same length as their bodies.

INFO BOX:

Collective Noun = A Pack of Mongoose

Afrikaans Name = Klein grysmuishond