Banded Mongoose

(Mungos mungo)




Facts about this animal

Banded mongooses are middle-sized mongooses with a head-body length of about 47 cm, a tapered tail of 28 cm, and a weight of about 1.4 kgs. They are characterized by a series of thin, dark bands across the back, which are most noticeable on lower back and fade away on lower flanks. The body colour ranges from whitish to reddish-brown, with variation among specimens, with darker legs and tail tip. They have five fingers on each hand, and four toes on each foot. Their fore claws are longer and more curved than their back claws and are used for scratching and digging. The muzzle is relatively long and conical in shape. They lack a groove on their upper lip, found in other mongoose species. There is no apparent sexual dimorphism. Females have three pairs of abdominal teats.


Banded mongooses are social animals living in matriarchally organized bands of about 30, sometimes up to 75 individuals. Every member of the group will care for the very young and the elderly, providing food and protection, as well as grooming them. They are diurnal, emerging from their dens, usually a termite mound, in the morning sun and returning to them in the late afternoon Banded mongooses tend to be nomadic, as they will not stay in a particular area for more than a couple of days to a week.


Females become sexually mature around 9 to 10 months of age. There are usually 3-4 breeding females in one band, which seem to inhibit breeding of lower ranked females and about as many reproductive males. Gestation is approximately 2 months, and litter size is variable, ranging from two to six. The cubs are born blind with a sparse amount of hair and will leave the den for short excursions around 4 weeks of age.

Did you know?
That the word mongoose comes from the Marathi (Indian) word mangus? By the way, the plural is mongooses, not mongeese, even if the British Scrabble Players Association pretends the contrary!


Name (Scientific) Mungos mungo
Name (English) Banded Mongoose
Name (French) Mangouste rayƩe
Name (German) Zebramanguste
Name (Spanish) Mangosta rayada
Local names Afrikaans: Gebande muishondchi
isiNdebele: Usikibhororisi
Shona: Dzvoro
Sotho: Letodise
Swahili: Nkuchirose
Swati: Lichacha
Tswana: Letototo, Ramoswesi
Zulu: Ubuhala, Ubuhayeki
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
John Spaedtke



Range Africa
Habitat Grasslands, woodlands, rocky country and riverine areas
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population 380 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Banded Mongoose


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 78 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Adrian Pingstone

Why do zoos keep this animal

The banded mongoose is not an endangered species. Diurnal mongooses are however very attractive species, and because they are always busy and display an interesting social life, and are ideal species for educational purposes. Banded mongoose may be kept in mixed exhibits, e.g. together with rock dassies, small antelopes, like steenbok, or hornbills.