Selous' mongoose

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Selous' mongoose
Paracynictis selousi Smit.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Herpestidae
Genus: Paracynictis
Species: P. selousi
Binomial name
Paracynictis selousi
(de Winton, 1896)
Selous' Mongoose area.png
Selous' mongoose range

Selous' mongoose /səˈlz/ (Paracynictis selousi) is a carnivore of southern Africa. It is the only member of the genus Paracynictis[2] in the mongoose family. It is tawny grey in colour. It is presumably named after British explorer and big-game hunter Frederick Selous.


Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Herpestidae Subfamily: Herpestinae Species: Paracynictis selousi [3]

Subspecies of Paracynictis selousi: Paracynictis selousi bechuanae Paracynictis selousi ngamiensis Paracynictis selousi selousi Paracynictis selousi sengaani [4]


The species of mongoose is endemic to Southern Africa. Its range includes Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa.[5]

Physical Description[edit]

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.[6] The body of the mongoose ranges from pale speckled grey to tawny grey with a pale underside, while the legs are brown or black.[4][7] 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.[7] The mongoose has four digits on each limb and long, slightly curved claws that are associated with digging.[8] 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.[9]


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 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.

Feeding and Foraging[edit]

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.

Conservation Status and Threats[edit]

The Selous’s Mongoose is classified as Least Concern. There are no known threats to the species, and the population is widely distribution


Litters are usually made up of two to four young, which are born from August to March.

Trivia and Fun Facts[edit]

The Selous’s Mongoose can defend itself by expelling strong-smelling secretion from its anal gland. Its white-tipped tail may be an indication of this ability. A group can also be called “mongeese” or a “mongaggle,” although the traditionally accepted plural form is mongooses.

Etymology of the Name[edit]

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: Afrikaans: Kleinwitstertmuishond Zulu: Nsengane Tswana: Kgano Shona: Jerenyenje


  1. ^ Stuart, C., Stuart, T. & Hoffmann, M. (2008). Paracynictis selousi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
  2. ^ Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). "Paracynictis". Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b [2]
  5. ^ Nowak, Ronald M. Walker’s Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991
  6. ^ Stuart, Chris and Tilde. The Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 2007
  7. ^ a b Stuart, Chris and Tilde
  8. ^ Nowak
  9. ^ Mitchell, C. “Selous’ Mongoose.” The Ultimate Field Guide for Mammals of Southern Africa