Dwarf mongoose

Latin Name
Helogale parvula




Small, burrowing mammals, dwarf mongoose can reach up to 10 inches in length. Members of the species have brown fur with rounded ears and a long tail.



This species can be found throughout eastern Africa, from Somalia to South Africa.


Common. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Dwarf Mongoose Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


Dwarf mongooses occupy a variety of habitats, including savannas, forests and even mountainous regions.


Dwarf mongoose primarily eat insects, but eggs, fruit and small lizards also make up part of their diet.

Life History

Dwarf mongooses are a highly social species, living in groups of up to 40 members. A dominant female is the highest-ranking member of the group, initiating movements between burrows and enjoying first access to food. The dominant female and her mate are typically the only members of the group to breed. Other adult members of the group help to raise young by cleaning them, carrying them and bringing them food.

Bonus Content

Baby Dwarf Mongoose Explores
A baby dwarf mongoose explores its habitat at Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House. The new arrival, born in January, is part of the second litter for mom and dad this breeding season. Thanks to Rebecca Garrett for sharing this video!

Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed four dwarf mongoose pups in October 2014.

Post from the President—Two New Litters
Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House welcomed four dwarf mongoose pups in October 2014. President and CEO Kevin Bell introduces the new arrivals.

Field Note: Dwarf Mongoose
Africa's smallest carnivore is adapted for communal living. See how dwarf mongooses find food—and babysit younger members of the family—within months of birth.

Dwarf mongooses enjoy pumpkin enrichment for Halloween.

Halloween Fun for the Animals
To get a head start on Halloween, we offered the animals pumpkins to play with! See species from fruit bats to crowned lemurs enjoying the edible enrichment.

Dwarf mongooses get ready to board at Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.

Animals Eat the Skyline at Chi-Cow-Go
The zoo celebrated Chicago’s 175th birthday with a bovine bash. The fun kicked off with the unveiling of a redesigned "Cows on Parade" statue before moving to the rest of the zoo with Chicago-themed animal enrichment. You can also watch a video of the fun!


ARKive Media

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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit