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10 24/10/2014

Dwarf mongoose pups emerge

Two dwarf mongoose pups born at Chester Zoo have taken tiny steps into the outside world.

The little youngsters, the smallest of all the African carnivores, were spotted by keepers enjoying their first adventure at the zoo.

The duo spent a month in their nest box with keepers just hearing occasional squeaks.

Twilight team manager Dave White said:

Now that our new duo has started exploring they’re going to keep mum, dad and the rest of the dwarf mongoose group very much on their tiny toes.

Dwarf mongoose are highly sociable animals, living in groups where each mongoose has a job to do. When a litter of young is born then the whole group helps to care for them, with females other than their mum even producing milk for them.

They may be small but they’re a fascinating species and what they lack in size they certainly make up for in likability.

The arrival of the pups brings the number of dwarf mongoose at the zoo to nine but it’s too early for keepers to be able to tell if the pups are male or female.

Dwarf mongoose at Chester Zoo
Dwarf mongoose - Chester Zoo

Dwarf mongoose facts

  • Dwarf mongoose are found in many parts of Africa, living in woodlands, grasslands and rocky outcrops
  • They mainly feed on locusts, beetles, spiders, termites, grubs and mealworms, smaller mammals like mice, small birds, lizards and snakes
  • They are Africa’s smallest carnivore, as well as the smallest of the mongoose species
  • Adult dwarf mongoose only grow to about 30cm (12 inches)
  • Mongoose live in groups led by an alpha female and her male partner
  • Dwarf mongoose are related to meerkats
  • 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
  • The dominant pair of the group tend to produce a litter of young each year which the rest of the group help to care for, with subordinate females even producing milk for them
  • They make short chirrup sounds to communicate with each other
  • The two new youngsters were born on 08/09/14
  • Keepers do not yet know the pups’ gender and so they’ve not yet been named
Dwarf mongoose pups emerge - Chester Zoo
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