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Mongoose in Kenya

Mongoose in Kenya

Swahili: Kicheche

The banded mongoose (the one most commonly found in Kenya) is usually seen in groups in Tsavo, Amboseli and Masai Mara reserves. It is brown or grey In colour and is easily identifiable by the dark bands across the back which stretch from the shoulder to the l tail. The animal is about 40 cm in length and weighs between 1.3 and 2.3 kg.

Mongoose are very sociable animals and live in packs of between 30 and 50 individuals which stay close to one another when foraging for prey. They are often very noisy, having a wide variety of sounds which they use to communicate with each other. When threatened they growl and spit in much the same manner as a domestic cat. Being diurnal animals, they prefer sunny spots during the day but retire to warrens — rock crevices, hollow trees and abandoned anthill); —at night. A pack frequently has several warrens within its territory.

The mongoose’s most important source of food are Insects, grubs and larvae but they also eat small amphibians, reptiles, birds’ eggs, fruits, berries and birds. Their main predators are birds of prey though they are also taken by lion, leopard and hunting dogs. Snakes rarely pose a danger since these would-be predators are attacked by the entire pack and the snake is frequently killed.

Mongoose are one of the creatures which have become very habituated to humans in some places and come right up to the game lodges scavenging for scraps.