Geographical Range Sub-Saharan Africa
Habitat Woodlands, savannas, brushlands, mountain scrublands
Scientific Name Helogale parvula
Conservation Status Common

The well-named dwarf mongoose is one of the smallest African carnivores (meat-eaters). An adult weighs only one pound, and measures eight to 12 inches long.

These social mammals live in large family groups of 12 to 15 animals. The pack normally includes only one breeding pair, but other adults also help raise the young. When the members of a pack are apart, they keep in constant contact with a series of vocalizations, like the TCHEE TCHEE alarm calls that they emit when they spot a predator.

A pack's territory usually includes a number of tall termite mounds, which the mongooses use as "lookout towers" to search for danger. They may also be alerted to danger by neighboring hornbills, which give out an alarm call when predators are near. The hornbills, in turn, benefit from the mongooses' activity, since their movements through the grass stir up insects that the birds eat.

Dwarf mongooses mainly eat insects, including locusts, termites, beetles and grubs. Adults cooperate in hunting and often share food, including carrying insects back to their young.