(de Winton, 1896)
|Selous' mongoose range|
The Selous’s mongoose has a total length of 63–90 cm and a tail length of 28–43 cm. It weighs about 1.4-2.0 kg. The body of the mongoose ranges from pale speckled grey to tawny grey with a pale underside, while the legs are brown or black. The tail of the mongoose is white at the tip, making it identifiable from the white-tailed mongoose, which has a tail that is ¾ white. The Selous’s mongoose is also smaller and more slender than the white-tailed mongoose. The mongoose has four digits on each limb and long, slightly curved claws that are associated with digging. The main difference between the sexes is that the female Selous’s mongoose has three pairs of nipples on her underside, while the male does not.
The Selous’s mongoose is a nocturnal species, but has been observed above ground during the day. Although usually solitary, mongooses will sometimes form pairs, and it is not uncommon to see females with young. The Selous’s mongoose digs its own burrows, but may opportunistically use those of other animals.
The Selous’s mongoose’s primary source of food is invertebrates. It also feeds on small rodents, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. The front claws of the mongoose are ideally adapted to search for subterranean beetle larvae. The species will dig through tufts of grass or leaf litter to find food.
The Selous’s mongoose lives primarily in open scrub and woodland. It does not inhabit either forests or arid areas. The species lives in labyrinthine, underground burrows of its own construction.
Conservation status and threats
The Selous’s mongoose is classified as being of least concern. There are no known threats to the species, and the population is widely distributed.
Etymology of the name
The mongoose is named after Frederick Selous. Both Selous’s mongoose and Selous’ mongoose are accepted spellings of the name. The Selous’s mongoose has other names in native African language, as follows:
- Stuart, C.; Stuart, T. & Hoffmann, M. (2008). "Paracynictis selousi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
- Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). "Paracynictis". Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Nowak, Ronald M. Walker’s Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991
- Stuart, Chris and Tilde. The Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 2007
- Stuart, Chris and Tilde
- Mitchell, C. “Selous’ Mongoose.” The Ultimate Field Guide for Mammals of Southern Africa
- Nowak, Ronald M. Walker’s Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
- Stuart, Chris and Tilde. The Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 2007.
- Mitchell, C. “Selous’ Mongoose.” The Ultimate Field Guide for Mammals of Southern Africa.
- Stuart, C., Stuart, T. & Hoffmann, M. 2008. “Paracynictis selousi.” The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. www.iucnredlist.org.
- Selous’ Mongoose. The Animal Files. Web. Accessed March 2015
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