The banded mongoose lives in large, social groups of between 5 and 40 individuals (5). Living alongside other individuals provides the banded mongoose with a range of benefits including improved vigilance against predators (6), as well as a better chance of acquiring and defending resources from other groups and animals (5).
The home range of the banded mongoose can vary in size, from 0.8 to 4 square kilometres (3), and within this range it prefers to den in old termite mounds (4). The dens are communal and usually consist of a central sleeping chamber, or sometimes several smaller chambers, and up to nine different entrance holes (4). Within its home range, the banded mongoose scent marks using secretions from its anal glands and, though a banded mongoose group does not specifically defend its territory, encounters with neighbouring groups usually result in noisy conflict (3) (4).
Being diurnal, the banded mongoose usually emerges from its den early in the morning and will spend most of the day foraging, although the group will rest in the hottest part of the day, before returning to the den before sunset (4). The banded mongoose feeds mainly on insects and a group can cover up to three kilometres a day in search of food (2) (3) (4) (6). It has also been observed feeding on a variety of other items, including rodents, birds’ eggs and fruit (2) (3). For breaking into hard items such as egg shells, the banded mongoose has two special techniques (7). The first is to bite into the shell using its razor sharp teeth (7). A second, more unusual technique is to throw the object with its front legs, between its back legs, and onto the hard ground behind it (2) (3) (7).
In banded mongoose groups, several individuals may be reproductively active at the same time (8). A few dominant males will usually mate with and guard receptive females. The females, however, have been observed to escape their ‘guards’ in order to also mate with subordinate males (8). The gestation period is typically two months (2) (3), and remarkably the majority of females give birth on the same night (5). Banded mongoose pups are cared for communally by the group and are allowed to suckle from any lactating female (3) (5). The young remain in the den until they are around a month old, when they begin to join the adults on foraging trips (4).