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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 20.8 years (captivity)
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Reproduction

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Little is known about their sexual behavior, but it is known that they breed twice a year, once in the middle of the dry season and once in the rains. The female prepares a nest of dry grass in a hole. If there are no holes available in swampy areas, the young are raised on a nest of reeds, grass, and sticks . Up to three young per litter have been recorded. Sometimes a second adult also accompanies the family. The young usually are weaned and depart from their birthplace in a few months.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 100 g.

Average gestation period: 76 days.

Average number of offspring: 2.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male:
255 days.

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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With a fairly wide distribution and large populations, these animals seem unlikely to become endangered soon.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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They become very tame when caught young and are clean and easy to keep.

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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This versatile, omnivorous mongoose exploits a wide range of swampy conditions where many kinds of food are found. Freshwater crabs, mussels and snails are major foods; reptiles and birds and their eggs, large insects and their larvae, millipedes and various fruits also constitute part of the diet. These mongooses investigate every hole or crevice along river banks often finding hidden crabs or frogs. When they are looking for food in ponds they patiently and systematically work their hands through the mud and water. While foraging, the mongoose often holds its head out of the water. The sifting motion of the hands is rapid and continous until food is located. Once an item is found, it is pulled out of the water and may be taken relatively slowly into the mouth. If the prey strugggles, it is killed with a bite. Any hard objects such as mussels, crabs and eggs are hurled down with considerable force to break open the shell.

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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The Marsh Mongoose is widely distributed over all the better-watered parts of Africa.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Mongooses range from sea level up to 2,500 meters, but they prefer swampy vegetation bordering rivers and lakes. There are records of mongooses inhabiting hilly regions where there is little water and no aquatic fauna to feed on. Marsh mongooses are an important member of the small community of animals specially adapted to Papyrus swamps. Due to the deoxygenated water of the Papyrus swamp, only air breathing fish, frogs, insect larvae, snails, and mongooses inhabit the region.

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
17.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
17.4 years.

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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This medium-sized dark-brown animal is one of the more highly specialized mongooses. The neck, body and tail are covered with thick, shaggy fur while the fur on the hands and feet is short and sleek. The hand are extremely soft and sensitive and the thumb functions as a passive prop, enhancing the animal's purchase on a slippery surface. The premolar teeth are stout and used for crushing hard foods and the lower canines are particularly well-developed.

Range mass: 2.5 to 4.1 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Nocon, W. 1999. "Atilax paludinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Atilax_paludinosus.html
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Wojtek Nocon, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Marsh mongoose

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The marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus) is a medium-sized mongoose native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it inhabits foremost freshwater wetlands. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008.[1]

Taxonomy

The generic name Atilax was introduced in 1826 by Frédéric Cuvier.[2] In 1829, Georges Cuvier referred to a mongoose in the marshes of the Cape Province using the scientific name Herpestes paludinosus.[3] It is the only member of the genus Atilax.[4]

Characteristics

The marsh mongoose's fur is dark reddish brown to black with white and fawn coloured guard hairs. The hair behind the neck and in front of the back is short, but longer on the hind legs and on the tail. Its muzzle is short with a fawn coloured mouth, short whiskers and a naked rhinarium. It has 3.1.3.23.1.3.2 × 2 = 36 teeth. Its short ears are round. It has two nipples. Its feet have five flexible digits each with curved claws, but without any webbing. The soles of its feet are naked.[5]

Females measure 48.72 cm (19.18 in) in head-to-body length, and males 51.38 cm (20.23 in), with a 32.18–34.11 cm (12.67–13.43 in) long tail. In weight, adults range from 2.56 to 2.95 kg (5.6 to 6.5 lb). Both sexes have anal glands in a pouch that produce a musky smelling secretion.[6]

Distribution and habitat

The marsh mongoose occurs in sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia, and south to Southern Africa, except Namibia.[1] It inhabits freshwater wetlands such as marshes and swamps along slow-moving rivers and streams, but also estuaries in coastal areas.[5] It was probably introduced to Pemba Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago.[7]

In Guinea's National Park of Upper Niger, it was recorded during surveys conducted in 1996 to 1997.[8] In Gabon’s Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, it was recorded only in forested habitats during a two-months survey in 2012.[9]

In the Ethiopian Highlands, it was recorded at an altitude of 3,950 m (12,960 ft) in Bale Mountains National Park.[10]

Behaviour and ecology

The marsh mongoose is solitary.[11] It is an excellent swimmer and can dive for up to 15 seconds, using its feet to paddle. On land, it usually trots slowly, but can also move fast.[12] Radio-collared marsh mongooses in Kwa-Zulu Natal showed crepuscular activity, and were active from shortly after sunset until after midnight, but not during the day.[13] A male marsh mongoose radio-collared in Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve was most active in early mornings and late evenings. During the day it rested in burrows situated in dry areas above water and mud in dense cover of high grasses and climbing plants.[14]

Feeding behaviour and diet

Feeding behaviour of eight captive marsh mongooses was studied in 1984. When the mongooses sighted prey in the water, they swam or walked towards it, used their digits to seek it out, but kept their heads above water. Once located, they grabbed it with the mouth and killed it outside the water. They killed rodents and frogs by biting them in the head, and occasionally also shook them. When finished eating, they wiped their mouths with the forefeet. They broke eggs by throwing them backwards between the legs.[11] Scat of marsh mongooses collected around Lake St Lucia contained foremost remains of crustaceans, amphibians, insects and fish. Marsh mongooses were observed while carrying mudcrabs (Scylla serrata) ashore. They removed the chelipeds and opened the sternum to feed on the body contents.[15] They deposit scat at specific latrine sites located on low shrubs, on rocks or sand well away from the water edge. Scat of marsh mongoose collected in a rocky coastal habitat contained remains of sandhoppers, shore crab (Cyclograpsus punctatus), pink-lipped topshell (Oxystele sinensis) and Tropidophora snails.[16] Research in southeastern Nigeria revealed that the marsh mongoose has an omnivorous diet. It feeds on rodents like giant pouched rats (Cricetomys), Temminck's mouse (Mus musculoides), Tullberg's soft-furred mouse (Praomys tulbergi), grass frogs (Ptychadena), crowned bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus occipitalis), herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia), mudskippers (Periophthalmus), insects such as spiders and Coleoptera, snails and slugs, Bivalvia, Decapoda as well as fruits, berries and seeds.[17]

Reproduction

After a gestation of 69 to 80 days, females give birth to a litter of two to three young, which are fully furred. Their eyes open between the 9th and 14th day, pupils are bluish at first and change to brown at the age of three weeks. Their ear canal opens between the 17th and 28th day. Females start weaning their offspring earliest on the 30th day, and young are fully weaned by the age of two months.[18]

Threats

In 2006, it was estimated that about 950 marsh mongooses are hunted yearly in the Cameroon part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests.[19]

References

  1. ^ a b c Do Linh San, E., Angelici, F. M., Maddock, A. H., Baker, C. M. & Ray, J. (2015). "Atilax paludinosus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T41590A45204865.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Cuvier, F. G. (1826). "Vansire". In E. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and F. G. Cuvier (eds.). Histoire Naturelle des Mammifères : avec des figures originales, coloriées, dessinées d'aprèsdes animaux vivans. Tome 5. Paris: A. Belin. p. LIV.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link) CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  3. ^ Cuvier, G. (1829). "Les Mangoustes. Cuv. (Herpestes, Illiger)". Le règne animal distribué d'après son organisation, pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Paris: Chez Déterville. pp. 157–158.
  4. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Atilax paludinosus". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 562. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  5. ^ a b Baker, C. M. and Ray, J. C. (2013). "Genus Atilax paludinosus Marsh Mongoose". In J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds.) (eds.). The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 298−302. ISBN 9781408189962.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  6. ^ Baker, C. M. (1992). "Atilax paludinosus" (PDF). Mammalian Species. 408: 1–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  7. ^ Walsh, M. T. (2007). "Island subsistence: hunting, trapping and the translocation of wildlife in the Western Indian Ocean" (PDF). Azania: Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. 42 (1): 83−113. doi:10.1080/00672700709480452.
  8. ^ Ziegler, S.; Nikolaus, G.; Hutterer, R. (2002). "High mammalian diversity in the newly established National Park of Upper Niger, Republic of Guinea" (PDF). Oryx. 36 (1): 73–80. doi:10.1017/s003060530200011x.
  9. ^ Nakashima, Y. (2015). "Inventorying medium-and large-sized mammals in the African lowland rainforest using camera trapping". Tropics. 23 (4): 151–164. doi:10.3759/tropics.23.151.
  10. ^ Yalden, D. W., Largen, M. J., Kock, D. and Hillman, J. C. (1996). "Catalogue of the Mammals of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Revised checklist, zoogeography and conservation". Tropical Zoology 9 (1): 73−164.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b Baker, C. M. (1989). "Feeding habits of the water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus)" (PDF). Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 54 (1): 31–39.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  12. ^ Taylor, M. E. (1970). "Locomotion in some African viverrids". Journal of Mammalogy. 51 (1): 42–51. doi:10.2307/1378530.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Maddock, A. H. and Perrin, M. R. (1993). "Spatial and temporal ecology of an assemblage of viverrids in Natal, South Africa". Journal of Zoology. 229 (2): 277–287. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1993.tb02636.x.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ Ray, J. (1997). "Comparative ecology of two African forest mongooses, Herpestes naso and Atilax paludinosus". African Journal of Ecology. 35 (3): 237–253. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1997.086-89086.x.
  15. ^ Whitfield, A. K. and Blaber, S. J. M. (1980). "The diet of Atilax paludinosus (water mongoose) at St Lucia, South Africa" (PDF). Mammalia. 44 (3): 315–318. doi:10.1515/mamm.1980.44.3.315.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ Louw, C. J., Nel, J. A. J. (1986). "Diets of coastal and inland-dwelling water mongoose" (PDF). 16 (4): 153–156. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  17. ^ Angelici, F. M. (2000). "Food habits and resource partitioning of carnivores (Herpestidae, Viverridae) in the rainforests of southeastern Nigeria: preliminary results" (PDF). Revue d'Écologie (La Terre et La Vie). 55: 67–76.
  18. ^ Baker, C. M., Meester, J. (1986). "Postnatal physical development of the Water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus)" (PDF). Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 51 (4): 236–243.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  19. ^ Fa, J. E., Seymour, S., Dupain, J. E. F., Amin, R., Albrechtsen, L. and Macdonald, D. (2006). "Getting to grips with the magnitude of exploitation: bushmeat in the Cross–Sanaga rivers region, Nigeria and Cameroon" (PDF). Biological Conservation. 129 (4): 497–510. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2005.11.031.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

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Marsh mongoose: Brief Summary

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The marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus) is a medium-sized mongoose native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it inhabits foremost freshwater wetlands. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008.

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