When they're born they're barely the size of a chocolate bar and cute as a button you might say! Even adult Dwarf Mongoose only grow to about 12 inches, making them the smallest of all African carnivores.

But what they lack in size they make up for in likeability. These charming little creatures are full of activity and curiosity, just like Meerkats, to which they are related.

And, also similar to meerkats, mongoose live in groups led by an alpha female and her male partner.

The group has a social structure with each Mongoose having a job to do. One of the most important of these jobs is that of the lookout who keeps a check on what's going on around and about their Mongoose enclosure while the rest of his clan are up to their daily activities.

Feeding is, of course, among the most crucial of these activities and we feed our Mongoose a varied diet throughout the day, similar to that which they would find in the wild.

There they mainly eat insects like locusts, beetles, spiders, termites, grubs and mealworms, plus occasionally smaller mammals like mice.

In the wild Dwarf Mongoose thrive in most parts of Africa, living in woodlands, grasslands and rocky outcrops. Like Meerkats, they build a network of burrows and build termite mounds, but they rarely stay in the same area for more than a few days at a time.

Each year the dominant pair of the group produce a litter of about three or four young, which the rest of the group help to care for. They make short chirrup sounds to communicate with each other. Listen hard and you might hear them.

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Interesting facts

Where they live: Widespread across Africa, including in Somalia, Congo, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Sudan.

Habitat: Woodlands, savannas, rocky outcrops, crevices

Size: about 7cm shoulder height; 30cm length

Weight: up to 500g

Threats: No major threats

Species Information

Scientific name Helogale parvula
Order Carnivora
Family Herpestidae
Genus Helogale
IUCN status Least Concern
Roles in the zoo

Education

Interdependence: This species helps demonstrate that all living things, including humans, live in ecosystems and depend on other living things for their survival.