A supreme opportunist and skilled hunter (1), the white-tailed mongoose is nocturnal and mainly insectivorous, feeding on surface invertebrates (mainly termites and ants in the dry season and dung beetles in the rainy season), but also occasionally takes small vertebrates (small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles) berries, fruits and carrion (3) (6). To break open shelled food, such as eggs and snails, the white-tailed mongoose throws its prey between its back legs against a stone or other hard object (4). Despite being a fast runner over short distances, the white-tailed mongoose may defend itself from predators using anal scent glands that can emit a noxious fluid to deter predators (4), much like a skunk (2).
In Ethiopia, the mean home range size for males was 3.17 square kilometres, and 2.61 square kilometres for a female (6). In Tanzania, mean home range size was 0.97 square kilometres for males and 0.64 square kilometres for females, with a density of up to four individuals per square kilometres (6). Home range size in Kenya has been reported up to eight square kilometres (6). Male ranges are exclusive, but they overlap substantially with females. Some female ranges are exclusive, whilst others are apparently shared with other females, although they forage independently (6). In high-density populations, there appears to be male-biased dispersal and females remain on the maternal home range, which leads to the formation of female clusters or clans (6).
Outside the breeding season, the white-tailed mongoose is typically solitary. Reported pairs and small groups are probably consorting individuals or mothers with young (4). Breeding pairs share a territory during the breeding season and raise two to four pups (5) (6), which in captivity are born between June and July (3).