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Group Hug

July 28, 2016

Group Hug

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Julie Larsen Maher and Jennifer Loveless Julie Larsen Maher and Jennifer Loveless

Dwarf mongoose, Africa’s smallest carnivores, live in groups of 12 to 15, enough to perform what appears to be a “group hug.”

Relationships play major roles in mongoose society. Mongoose adhere to a hierarchy in which the oldest male and female are the alpha pair – the only one allowed to breed within the group.

Mongoose occasionally take over termite mounds – with their perfectly compartmentalized living quarters – and turn them into mongoose condos. The mongoose alpha male takes the lead on burrow duty. He is first to exit the den to perform a security check and lets the others know when it is safe to come out. He then scent marks all the individuals in his group so he can recognize them as his own – a system that allows him to check them in the evening to make sure there aren’t any unrecognizable individuals coming to sleep over.

At the Bronx Zoo, the keepers notice many interesting mongoose behaviors. The mongoose love spending time rearranging their furniture (logs, sticks, and grasses) in their exhibit at the Carter Giraffe House as well as checking out new scents that are part of their enrichment.

Wild View is holding a WCS Zoos and Aquarium Photo Contest. Tell everyone in your group to send their best animal photographs from the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo. The favorites, as voted on by the public, will be used in our 2017 Wild View Calendar.

Nikon D4


Bronx, USA Map It

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