The ring-tailed mongoose is a sociable carnivore, often found in family groups of up to five. These mammals are most active during the day, spending the majority of their time on the ground, though they can also climb trees and vines. At night, they shelter in hollow logs or burrows they dig with their claws.
The ring-tailed mongoose is highly vocal. It whistles like a frog to keep the family together, mews like a cat when hunting, shrieks and growls when fighting, and moans if alarmed. This species also communicates by marking rocks, tree trunk, and branches with their scent.
The ring-tailed mongoose eats a wide range of foods including rodents, small tenrecs and lemurs, birds, eggs, frogs, insects, and fish. Once it catches its prey, it delivers a quick bite to the back of the neck.
Females generally give birth between November and January after a gestation of just under 3 months. Newborns weigh a tenth of a pound. The mother raises the newborns on her own in the burrow for about a month, before letting her mate approach the infants. Young are weaned by 3 months and reach adulthood by two years of age, at which point they leave their parents.
Some of My Neighbors
Ring-tailed lemurs, collared lemurs, tenrec, fossa, Malagasy small-toothed civet, broad-striped and brown-tailed mongooses
Population Status & Threats
The Malagasy ring-tailed mongoose is classified as vulnerable. Major threats include habitat loss, especially from logging, and competition from introduced species, such as domestic dogs and cats. Its population continues to decline.
WCS Conservation Efforts
The Wildlife Conservation Society has worked in Madagascar since 1990, helping to protect its coastal, marine, and dry forests. WCS has partnered with the Malagasy government and local communities to create protected areas and is working to develop new approaches to support conservation and livelihoods.
Learn more about WCS work in Madagascar.