The white-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda) is the largest species of mongoose.
It is found in most of Africa south of the Sahara, and the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula.
They live in a wide range of habitats, from semi-desert to savanna woodland, but avoid moist areas, or extremely arid areas. They prefer areas of thick cover, such as the edges of forests and brushy streams.
Ichneumia albicauda is primarily nocturnal and terrestrial. By day they will rest in an abandoned burrow, termite mound, or in cavities under tree roots.
They are, for the most part, solitary creatures, with the male and female only coming together to mate.
Their legs are relatively long for a mongoose. The head is very long and narrow and tapers to a point. Its large, rounded ears are set low on the sides of the head. It has a yellow to tan coloration on its body, with long black guard hairs, giving it an overall grizzled grey appearance. The legs and arms are black from the elbow/knee down. The base of the large, bushy tail is brownish yellow, and is white on the latter half.
The white-tailed mongoose feeds mostly on insects, but will feed on a wide variety of other foods as well. Locusts, beetles, and mole crickets make up the majority of their diet. Rats, mice, shrews, lizards, snakes, small birds are also eaten, along with the occasional fruits and berries. The eggs of birds are also eaten. They will break open the egg by throwing it between its hind legs against a rock or other hard object, similar to other species of mongoose
Knowledge of the reproduction of the white tailed mongoose is incomplete. Litters are seen most frequently from February to May, and no young appear at all during the dry season from August to November, which suggests that they only breed once a year.
The young are fully weaned at nine months of age, and around this time, the young disperse. It is speculated that sexual maturity is reached before two years of age, and that the gestation period is around 60 days.
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