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Ordnung carnivores (Carnivora), suborder land based carnivores (Fissipedia)



Superfamily mongoose and hyena relatives (Herpestoidea), Family mongoose relatives (Viverridae), subfamily mongoose (Herpestinae)

Banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) can be met in many areas in Africa. They forage in troops of up to 35 animals within their territory. They are the most gregarious among mongoose. Their diet contains spiders, insects, lizards, snakes, eggs and centipedes. Females having milk do allow all young to suck. Several females in the troop breed.

They are mainly active early morning and late afternoon. That is when you meet them on your game drive. In the morning they come out of their burrow, mostly a termite mound, to warm themselves in the sun, to groom and socialize.

A threatened troop reacts by standing on the hind legs and builds an intimidating wall. Enemies are attacked by all individuals together and the young are protected by all members. Standing up allows them to see further.









Dwarf mongoose (Helogale parvula) mostly live in dead termite mounds. 10-14 individuals build the family in which only the alpha male and female breed. The other members assist in raising the offspring. They feed on various small creatures like beetles, scorpions and spiders. Larger snakes, jackals and martial eagles are their enemies. One day we found some of these cute little animals playing on a termite mound just beside the road. They caught anything they saw and ate it. As we moved the car a bit they became very curious and not shy at all.

Widespread in Africa. Depending on the region they are darker or brighter. Above Tarangire National park, below Samburu Gamereserve.







Egyptian or Large grey mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon). They are widespread over Africa and have a large variety of food. These nocturnal mongoose can be found single, in pairs or with young.




Marsh or Water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus). This species of mongoose is mostly to be found near water and mostly at night, rarely at day time. They feed on mussels, crabs, fish, eggs and frogs. Mussels, eggs and crabs are opened by hurling them downward against rocks from a standing position. Photo Veronika Ebner-Zürcher




Superfamily: Civet cats (Viverrinae)

Civet cats are nocturnal, terrestrial animals, with preferred habitat of fairly well-watered grassland and forest. The musk secreted as a territorial marking has been used in the past as an ingredient in the perfume trade. Mostly 2 – 3 young are born. Their diet ranges from invertebrates, wild fruits, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, birds to fish and grass. They are known to take the calves of small antelope and also domestic cats. They are hard to see in the wild unless the get fed at a lodge. Unfortunately many get run over by cars at night.




In the same subfamily than the Civet Cat is the large-spotted genet (Genetta tigrina). These nocturnal, 2 kg, slender animals eat fruits, eggs, smaller rodents and reptiles. 1 to 4 young are born. They can mainly be seen in lodges and sometimes in our mobile tented camps.



SmallSpotted Genet

Small-spotted Genet (Genetta genetta) is not choosy with the habitat. They are wide spread in Africa. The diet consists of rodents, reptiles, birds and eggs. They can get used to humans and are often around lodges.




Superfamily dogs and cats relatives (Cynofeloidea), family dog relatives (Canidae), subfamily dogs (Caninae)

Black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) live in burrows. Young from the last litter sometimes support their parents in raising the youngest ones. They feed on mice, other rodents, insects, berries, fresh born antelopes as well as carrion. They mark their territories with faeces and urine. Most of the activities take place early in the morning and from later afternoon until night. At daytime they are found resting in shady places. The position of the tail like in dogs shows submission or dominance. They are smart enough to get their share from vultures and hyenas.




When the food providers come back to the burrow the young follow them and beg for food which is regurgitated.

They are widespread in Africa.




Golden or Common jackals (Canis aureus) are more frequent in the Serengeti than the black-backed jackal. They only occur in the central and northern part of Africa and India. Usually in February when the wildebeest give birth the couple raises 5-6 young. Beside small antelopes they feed on fruits, invertebrates, reptiles and rodents. This one we found in the Ngorongoro Crater. Also good places to see them is Ndutu Conservation area, Amboseli and Serengeti National parks.





Side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) are rare to be found in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. They live in pairs and raise the puppies together. They feed on small animals and as this one here we were lucky to observe in the Masai Mara on desert dates.




Bat-eared foxes (Otocyon megalotis) mainly feed on insects and other invertebrates. They live in small family groups and often the young of the last litter help raising the new born siblings. They are active by day and night and mostly you find them in the morning close to their burrow basking. The ears are 14 cm long. They occur in savannas throughout Africa.




If you come across African wild or hunting dogs (Lycaon pictus) while on safari you are very lucky. We were watching the 17 dogs inclusive youngsters for over 1 hour hunting, feeding, playing, drinking and shifting.

These colourful, 25 kg weighing dogs are long distance runners and chase their prey over quite some distance. Hunting is coordinated among the pack members and they are very successful. Packs consist of 20 to 40 individuals, but in areas were they are still recovering mostly they are less. The alpha female can give birth to a litter of 18 puppies.  They are born in a burrow and all members carry food in there stomach to feed mother and puppies. Sometimes other females have puppies as well but do not get the required support so often their litter dies.




Wild dogs roam in home ranges from 1500 to 2000 sqkm but only defend the area near to the burrow. They move many kilometres a day and are therefore not easy to trace.

They can be found in Lewa Conservancy and other sanctuaries on the Laikipia plateau, in Tsavo Parks, Masai Mara / Serengeti region, Selous Reserve, Ruaha NP, Mikumi NP, Mkomazi NP and in Southern Africa.