Mongooses are a family of 33 species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Four additional species from Madagascar in the subfamily Galidiinae, which were previously classified in this family, are also frequently referred to as "mongooses". Genetic evidence indicates that the Galidiinae are more closely related to other Madagascar carnivorans in the family Eupleridae, which is the closest living group to mongooses. In contrast to the arboreal, nocturnal viverrids, mongooses are more commonly terrestrial and many are active during the day.
The Egyptian Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) is sometimes held as an example of a solitary mongoose, though it has been observed to work in groups.The Meerkat or Suricate (Suricata suricatta), a smaller species, lives in troops of 20 to 30 consisting of an alpha male and female, usually together with their siblings and offspring, in open country in Southern Africa (Angola, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa). The Meerkat is a small, diurnal mammal that forages for invertebrates in open country.
To protect the foraging troops from predators, one Meerkat serves as a sentinel that climbs to a vantage point and watches for danger. If the sentinel detects a predator it gives a loud alarm to warn the troop and indicate whether the threat comes from the air or the ground. If from the air, the meerkats rush to the nearest hole. If from the ground, the troop flees, but they are more able to evade terrestrial predators than raptors.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongoose - 18.01.2011
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