The banded mongoose is a small, mainly predatory mammal on the African savannah. It is closely related to the better-known meerkat from the same area. The two species have similar behaviours and life styles.
The banded mongoose weighs approximately 1.6 kg.
The species lives in social groups of several family units, numbering up to 30 individuals in total. Burrows are dug in abandoned termite mounds. The characteristically erect body posture is used to scan the surroundings for potential predators.
The diet consists mainly of insects, but also smaller vertebrates and fruit. The banded mongoose may also catch and eat venomous snakes without being affected by the venom.
Approximately 10–12 years.
At present the banded mongoose is not endangered. It has a large geographic distribution, lives in many different habitats and is common in protected areas.
The gestation period is two months, after which the female gives birth to 2–6 young. The females in the group all give birth at approximately the same time.
The banded mongooses will communally defend the group against predators larger than themselves, such as birds of prey and jackals. They group gather tightly, becoming an aggressive “superorganism” and thus intimidating their opponent.
A group of banded mongooses seldom stays in one place more than a few days or a week before moving on.
The banded mongoose is diurnal but prefers to spend a couple of hours in the shade during the hottest part of the day.