Herpestes ichneumon 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Herpestidae

Scientific Name: Herpestes ichneumon
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Egyptian Mongoose, Large Grey Mongoose
French Mangouste d'Egypte, Mangouste Ichneumon
Spanish Meloncillo

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Cavallini, P. & Palomares, F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) and Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread, common in at least part of its range, and present in many protected areas. There appear to have been some range and population increases in recent years, but this may be due to better observation. This species is generally assumed to have been introduced to Europe, perhaps a long time ago.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal and Gambia to East Africa, then southwards in Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. It is absent from much of southern Africa, but present in north-east Namibia, northern Botswana, northern and eastern Zimbabwe and all along the South African coastline (Palomares in press). In North Africa, ranges in a narrow coastal strip from Western Sahara to Tunisia, and also from northern and eastern Egypt southwards to Ethiopia (Palomares in press). It has been reported to 3,000 m asl in the Ethiopian highlands (Yalden et al. 1996). Apparently formerly introduced to Madagascar, but not recorded recently (Haltenorth and Diller 1980).

Extralimitally to the African mainland, this species is also found from the Sinai Peninsula to the south of Turkey (Delibes 1999), and on the Iberian Peninsula in southern and central Portugal (Borralho et al. 1995) and south-western Spain (Delibes 1999). At the beginning of the 20th century, it was also present in the north-western part of the Iberian Peninsula (Delibes 1999). An individual was recently recorded near Leon (Castile and Leon, Spain). It is generally considered to have been introduced to Europe, on a zoogeographical basis (Delibes 1999) and on the grounds that the species is absent from the European fossil record, although late Pleistocene and Holocene fossils are known from North Africa (Dobson 1998).
Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Turkey; Uganda; Western Sahara; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Portugal; Spain
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: On the African mainland, this species is widespread and locally common (Taylor in press). Densities ranging from 0.1 (East Africa; Hendrichs 1972) to 1.2 individuals/km² (South Africa; Maddock 1988) have been recorded. The status of its population in Europe is unknown, but numbers and range have increased in the last 20 years, in both Portugal and Spain, mainly due to the reduction of its natural predators (Delibes 1999); abundance increases from north to the south, reaching densities of 1.2 individuals per square kilometre in southern Spain (Delibes 1999).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Mainly associated with habitats having under-storey vegetation in coastal, lacustrine and riparian (streams, rivers, marsh, swamps) habitats (Palomares in press). This species avoids humid forests and extreme deserts (Delibes 1999; Palomares in press). In tropical Africa, the Egyptian Mongoose occurs where there are termitaries, which Kingdon (1977) suggested could satisfy a need for secure shelter. In Europe, it is found in Mediterranean maquis, with a clear preference for humid and riparian habitats (Delibes 1999). Egyptian Mongooses have home ranges of about three square kilometres, and are diurnal and omnivorous (Delibes 1999).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species across its range, although in parts of its range it may be at risk from more localized threats. On the Iberian Peninsula, incidental and deliberate poisoning by rodenticides is a localized threat, and trapping with boxes is legal in Portugal (F. Palomares pers. comm.). It is considered a pest by hunters, because of its presumed impact on small game species (Delibes 1999). In North Africa, this species is often protected by local people because it is valued as a predator of snakes (F. Cuzin and K. de Smet pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention, and Annex V of the EU Habitats and Species Directive (Delibes 1999). This species is present in many protected areas across its range.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable  
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

Borralho, R., Rego, F., Palomares, F. and Hora, A. 1995. The distribution of the Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (L.) in Portugal. Mammal Review 25: 229-236.

Delibes, M. 1999. Herpestes ichneumon. In: A.J. Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Kryštufek, P.J.H. Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, J.B.M. Thissen, V. Vohralík and J. Zima (eds), The Atlas of European Mammals, pp. 356-357. Academic Press, London, UK.

Dobson, M. 1998. Mammal distributions in the western Mediterranean: the role of human intervention. Mammal Review 28: 77-88.

Haltenorth, T. and Diller, H. 1980. A field guide to the mammals of Africa including Madagascar. Collins, London, UK.

Hendrichs, H. 1972. Beobachtungen und Untersuchungen zur Ökologie und Ethologie, insbesondere zur sozialen Organisation ostafrikanischer Säugetiere. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 30: 146-189.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Kingdon, J. 1977. East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa. Volume IIIA (Carnivores). Academic Press, London, UK.

Maddock, A.H. 1988. Resource partitioning in a viverrid assemblage. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Natal.

Palomares, F. 2013. Herpestes ichneumon Egyptian Mongoose (Ichneumon). In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses, pp. 306-310. Bloomsbury, London, UK.

Palomo, L.J. and Gisbert, J. 2002. Atlas de los mamíferos terrestres de España. Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza. SECEM-SECEMU, Madrid, Spain.

Yalden, D.W., Largen, M.J., Kock, D. and Hillman, J.C. 1996. Catalogue of the Mammals of Ethiopia and Eritrea. 7. Revised checklist, zoogeography and conservation. Tropical Zoology 9(1): 73-164.

Citation: Cavallini, P. & Palomares, F. 2008. Herpestes ichneumon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41613A10509319. . Downloaded on 25 May 2016.
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