Austria’s Schönbrunn Zoo is happy to have offspring among the southern dwarf mongooses: three young animals were born in mid-September and are now making their first excursions out of their den. “The young animals are curious and they explore the facility, dig in the sand and play with each other. If one of the little ones moves too far, the adult animals carry it back into the protective burrow in their mouths,” says zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck. At first glance, dwarf mongooses are often confused with meerkats. No wonder, both species belong to the mongoose family. However, as the name suggests, dwarf mongooses are among the smallest species of mongoose. Even fully grown, they only weigh around 300 grams.
Southern dwarf mongooses are native to the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa. They like to colonize abandoned termite mounds, which give them protection at night and a good view of the surrounding area during the day. It is also insects that are mainly on the menu of the little hunters. Your social system is exciting. Hering-Hagenbeck: “Dwarf mongooses live socially in small groups and rely on teamwork when they live together. Only the highest-ranking female gets the offspring, but everyone helps with the rearing. ”The young animals, whose sex is not yet known, are suckled in the first seven weeks of life. But they already try grasshoppers, mealworms and minced meat.
Photos by: Daniel Zupanc