African Animals

GREY MONGOOSE (Small) – Galerella pulverulenta

SIZE: Length (including the tail) 64 cm, mass (m) 900g, (f) 680g.

COLOUR: Speckled dark grey. Underparts sometimes lighter and less speckled.

MOST LIKE: The grey forms of the Slender Mongoose, but more thickest and with longer, more consistently grey hair. The small grey mongoose also lacks the slender mongoose's black tail-tip.

HABITAT: Wide range of habitats, from dry bush country to rocky slopes and forested areas, and from coast to Karoo.

The small grey mongoose scratches in the soil for insects, particularly grasshoppers and locusts, and also eats rats, mice, lizards, snakes, bird's eggs and chicks. They have a cat-like hunting style: crouching and stalking their prey, then dashing out and pouncing. The prey is usually killed by a head bite. The small grey mongoose is largely confined to the Cape Province: on farms it may make a home under the floorboards of an outbuilding or in some other man-made structure such as a barn or shed.
These mongoose sometimes climb trees either in search of food or to escape predators, but their claws are not particularly well equipped for either climbing or digging. They are normally solitary although occasionally they are seen in pairs. The small grey mongoose may shelter in another animal's burrow; alternatively they shelter among a pile of rocks or some other natural refuge. It is here that the young are weaned and they only emerge when they can fend for themselves: it is therefore very rare to see a female moving about with young.


The Small Grey Mongoose is often seen in the daytime crossing a track or country road before it darts into the undergrowth. It has short legs and a long tail, and trots briskly with its tail extended and its head held low. Like its name suggests, the small grey mongoose is largely grey: when examined closely, however, the coat is usually grizzled white or buffy and black.


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