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Dwarf Mongoose
Dwarf Mongoose

Dwarf mongoose

Order Carnivora Family Herpestidae- Helogale parvula
A social and diurnal predator existing in groups of up to 30 members. The diet is primarily insects, lizards, birds, small snakes and rodents.
Groups usually live in disused termite mounds and are very territorial, marking territory with anal and cheek glands. There is a strong hierarchy amongst both males and females and the society is matriarchal. They are cooperative breeders and it is usually only the alpha male and alpha female that breed, with the remainder of the group assisting with rearing the young. Often it is not the parents that remain behind to babysit the young when the group are out foraging (alloparenting). Allogrooming is an important part of maintaining the social bonds.
During the female’s oestrus period, lasting up to 5 days the male may mate with her more than 2300 times but only ejaculates in 10% of the copulations. The male may also mate with a subordinate female and she may also have pups. There is strong evidence to suggest that these pups are killed and the subordinate female that is lactating can then help the dominant female (the dam) to nurse the young. Females will usually have 2-3 pups. Average lifespan is 6 years.