Yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata)

Conservation Status

Least Concern (LC)

Physical Description

Long slender body with tawny-yellow fur and a long, bushy, white-tipped tail. Relatively large rounded ears give the yellow mongoose a fox-like appearance.
Weight 450-900 g
Size 40-60cm total length
Lifespan (wild) Unknown
Lifespan (captivity) 15 years


Primarily diurnal, they live in permanent burrows that it often shares with other species such as ground squirrels and meerkats. Male home ranges often overlap and are larger than female ranges, whose ranges do not overlap. They are a mostly quiet species but are known to have several different vocalizations from screams and growls and purring.

Social and Reproduction

Yellow mongoose are a very social species who form colonies centred around a family group. These families are often composed of a male, a female, the youngest offspring, and others such as sub-adults and very old individuals.

Mating System Polygamy (Polgyny)
Breeding interval Seasonal breeders.
Breeding season Early July
Gestation 42-57 days
Number of offspring 2-5 young born between October and January in southern areas, and up until March in northern areas.

Habitat and Food


Prefers semi-arid, open habitats such as grasslands and semi-desert scrub. They are almost entirely absent from open desert, forest, and mountainous habitats.


Insectivorous, but have a wide diet including birds, grass, seeds, rodents, and carrion.


Jackals, caracals, larger birds of prey, domestic animals and humans.

Conservation Challenges

Yellow mongoose are thought to be the primary carriers of rabies where they occur.

Naankuse Solutions

Orphaned or injured animals are taken in and rehabilitated for release.


Support our conservation activity animals such as the Yellow mongoose need your help.
Come Help Us

Yellow mongoose at Naankuse sites