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Common Dwarf Mongoose

Helpgale parvula


The smallest African carnivore. Stocky build; head broad with domed forehead and a short face. Legs short; tail short and tapered.


Underneath decking by the side of a small river.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

This is a wonderful spotting, Mel, and it makes me smile :) I remember these little guys very fondly. Regarding the ID, sometimes I'll just put into the notes other species that have also been considered plus relevant links.

Mel11 a year ago

Thanks for the link, that is really helpful, both for the mongoose and other mammals. I think you are spot on with the common dwarf mongoose and will edit appropriately. :-)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

That's definitely a possibility, Mel. There are six species of mongoose documented in the Mara region, but between some species the variations can be subtle. I've looked at a number of sites. The six listed here seems accurate, and three can be ruled out immediately.... Click on each.

Mel11 a year ago

Many thanks for your help Neil, when looking up the Latin name to change the details on the spotting, I came across a picture of a marsh mongoose which looks a possible match being black and longer haired. Notes in Collins field guide say habitat of streams and wetlands with concealing vegetation. What do you think?

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Awesome spotting, Mel! Mongooses/geese (?) are amazing animals. Just from these photos, I think these little guys could be the common dwarf mongoose. From memory, they were darker than the slender mongoose (not always the case), but it was the tail I remember. The dwarf mongoose came to a point, whereas the slender mongoose had a longer, fluffier tail that was usually darker at the tip. Your photos show a shorter, pointier tail.

Spotted by

Nakuru County, Kenya

Spotted on Sep 21, 2019
Submitted on Jun 26, 2021

Spotted for Mission

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