The Malagasy ring-tailed mongoose is less sociable than most mongooses, being found alone or in small family groups of up to five. It is mostly diurnal and, while it spends the bulk of its time on the ground, it will also climb trees and vines and even sometimes swim. During the night it will shelter in rapidly dug burrows or in hollow trees. Its diet comprises a wide range of prey from small mammals, birds and eggs to reptiles, frogs, invertebrates and fish (2) (3). In addition, in forests close to human habitation it is not uncommon for these mongooses to prey on domestic chickens (3). Like most mongooses, the Malagasy ring-tailed mongoose has a large anal gland with which it secretes scent on rocks and trees to mark territory (3) (5). Perhaps the most curious trait is the ability to produce a wide range of vocal calls specific to different activities, from cat like ‘miaows’ when capturing prey to alarm-raising moans and grunts (3).
Mating occurs between April to November, with a single young born following a gestation period of little under three months. New born infants resemble miniature adults with full fur and colouration, but weigh only 50 grams and do not take their first steps for almost two weeks. Young reach physical maturity after a year and sexual maturity another 6 to 12 months later, at which point they separate from their parents (2) (3). It is not known how long this species lives in the wild but in captivity one Malagasy ring-tailed mongoose lived for 24 years (2).