Yellow mongoose

Cynictis penicillata

NZ Yellow Mongoose 07 22 HR 3
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Carnivora
Family: Herpestidae

You’ll find our pair of male yellow mongooses in the centre of Newquay Zoo, next to the red panda enclosure.

This species of mongoose is native to southern Africa, and inhabits open, arid areas, from semi-desert scrubland to grasslands in Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Yellow mongooses are carnivores, and while they mostly feed on termites, grasshoppers and crickets, they will also eat eggs, rodents, small birds, spiders and scorpions when they have the opportunity.

Interesting facts!

  • Yellow mongooses live in burrows, which they often end up sharing with meerkats and ground squirrels
  • Yellow mongooses are excellent diggers. Their extensive burrows can feature around 40 different entrances, along with various chambers and tunnels, up to a depth of 1.5 meters
  • When eating an egg, mongooses will roll them up to a rock or stone, and throw the egg in between their legs to crack it open
  • Mongooses used to be revered by the Ancient Egyptians, and mummified mongooses have been found in Egyptian tombs!


Yellow mongooses are found in many protected areas throughout their range and are classed as Least Concern. Their only major threats are natural predators, such as snakes and birds of prey.