1. Homepage
  2. Species Guide
  3. Mammals
  4. Mongoose

Scientific Name: dwarf Helogale parvula

The smallest and one of the few social mongoose it is a uniform reddish brown-colour. Due to its group social behaviour it is one of the more commonly seen mongoose species.



Widespread from the Horn of Africa to the northern reaches of South Africa.

Social structure
A sociable species found in troops of up to 30 individuals with a dominant female and male. The female is dominant over the male and unusually the younger animals are the highest ranking in the troop. It is usually only the dominant female that breeds but all females care for the young.

Range differentiation
There is a debate as to whether the dwarf mongoose occurring in the horn of Africa (Helogale hirtula) are a separate species due to their habitat preference.

Savanna woodland.

Dwarf mongoose feed on insects and other invertebrates, reptiles, birds, eggs and fruit.

Births may be seasonal and young are dropped after a gestation period of 50 – 60 days.

Dwarf mongoose are of the most social of the group and constant contact is important.

The dwarf mongoose is the smallest mongoose species.

The troops have a dominant male and female, with the female the dominant of the two, and a definite hierarchal system but interestingly it is the younger members of the troop that rank the highest. It is only the dominant female that breeds but all females look after the young.

When moving and foraging they keep in contact soft calls.

They mark their home ranges, as do most mongoose, with secretions from their anal and cheek glands.

Disused termite mounds are the favoured home for dwarf mongoose.

It is usually only the dominant female that mates in this mongoose society.