Bdeogale jacksoniJackson's mongoose

Geographic Range

Bdeogale jacksoni (Jackson's mongoose) is said to live primarily in central Kenya, south-eastern Uganda, and on a mountain range in Tanzania known as the Udzungwa Mountains. (Creel, et al., 2007; De Luca and Rovero, 2006; Thomas, 2005; Van Rompaey, et al., 2008)


Bdeogale jacksoni has been observed to inhabit lowland forests, montane forests, and bamboo zones and has been reported at elevations of up to 3,300 m. There is little information regarding the habitat preferences of Jackson's mongooses, however, inferences have been made based on dissections of their stomachs. Species representing the genera g. Dasymus and g. Otomys have been found in the digestive system of Bdeogale jacksoni, which hints at a possible presence in swampy areas. (Van Rompaey, et al., 2008)

  • Range elevation
    3,300 (high) m

Physical Description

Jackson's mongooses weigh around 3 kg and have an average body length of 97 cm. As in other members of g. Bdeogale, there are four toes per foot instead of the expected five. Coat color ranges from gray to brown, but all individuals have a long white bushy tail. The fur is black in the chest area and on the legs, which is why this species is occasionally referred to as the Black-legged mongoose, a common name that should be reserved for Bdeogale nigripes, a completely separate species. The similarly soft and dense fur of these two species also contributes to the interchanging of their names. Bdeogale jacksoni can be distinguished by the coloration on the side of its neck and throat, which is reported to be a strong yellow. (Creel, et al., 2007; De Luca and Rovero, 2006)

  • Average mass
    3 kg
    6.61 lb
  • Average length
    97 cm
    38.19 in


The mating system of the Jackson's mongoose is unknown.

Bdeogale jacksoni has the same sixty day gestation period as that of most other mongooses. Other than the gestation period, reproductive behavior of Jackson's mongooses is largely unknown. It has been reported that male and female mongooses do not interact with each other outside of "mating periods." (Creel, et al., 2007)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average gestation period
    60 days

Aside from the actual act of mating, the male mongoose has little to no involvement in the raising or care taking of its young. The female mongoose takes care of its young from gestation to weaning. It has been reported that the female young of white-tailed mongooses (which would include the species Bdeogale jacksoni) typically stay with their mother into adulthood, while male young usually leave once fully developed. (Creel, et al., 2007)

  • Parental Investment
  • precocial
  • female parental care
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • post-independence association with parents


The lifespan of Bdeogale jacksoni is unknown, however other members of the family Herpestidae have an estimated lifespan of ten years in the wild and nineteen years when living in captivity. Mongooses typically live a very stressful life that requires constant vigilance for predators coming from the sky or by land. The high number of potential predators and need for vigilance might be expected to shorten a mongoose's lifespan. (Creel, et al., 2007)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    10 years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    19 years


Jackson's mongooses are nocturnal, and thus their behavior in the wild is largely unknown. However, studies of other mongoose species suggest that most are solitary, with only a few exceptions. (Creel, et al., 2007; De Luca and Rovero, 2006)

Home Range

The home range of Bdeogale jacksoni is unknown. (Creel, et al., 2007)

Communication and Perception

Communication in Bdeogale jacksoni has not been described, however, several mongoose species have been observed to give warning calls that alert others to danger. Each call is suspected to contain information about where the threat is coming from (i.e. the sky or the ground). (Creel, et al., 2007)

Food Habits

Dasymus (water rats) and Otomys (groove-toothed rats) have been found in the stomachs' of Jackson's mongooses. Jackson's mongooses are also insectivorous, with a particular fondness for army ants. As adults, over half of the diet of Jackson's mongooses is rodents, with insects, lizards, and birds making up the remainder of the diet. The diet of a juvenile Bdeogale jacksoni consists of carrion and birds' eggs along with some rodents (e.g. g. Otomys, g. Lophuromys, g. Mus, and g. Praomys). (Creel, et al., 2007; De Luca and Rovero, 2006; Van Rompaey, et al., 2008)

  • Animal Foods
  • birds
  • mammals
  • reptiles
  • carrion
  • insects


The specific predators of Bdeogale jacksoni are unknown, however, the common predators of other members of the family Herpestidae are large carnivores and birds of prey. Since these two types of predators would be attacking from different directions (i.e., land vs sky), mongooses have formed a system of warning calls that communicates the specific direction from which a threat is coming. A number of species in the family Accipitridae (e.g. hawks, eagles, and Old World vultures) occupy the same geographical range as Jackson's mongooses and likely prey on them. (Creel, et al., 2007; Kirschbaum, 2004)

Ecosystem Roles

The role that Jackson's mongooses play in their ecosystem is largely unknown, however, it can be surmised from their diet that they help to control the ant and other invertebrate populations. Likewise, these mongooses probably act as a welcomed food source for other carnivores, and in that way contribute to ecosystem structure.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Jackson's mongooses (Bdeogale jacksoni) consume rodents and insects that might be considered to be pests in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, their known habitat. (Creel, et al., 2007)

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of Bdeogale jacksoni on humans.

Conservation Status

According to the IUCN Red List, Bdeogale jacksoni is "Near Threatened" due to an increasing loss of habitat. The IUCN Red List also notes the possibility that Bdeogale jacksoni lives in areas where it has not yet been observed; it may, therefore, not deserve as high a conservation risk as currently applies. (Thomas, 2005; Van Rompaey, et al., 2008)

Other Comments

Although there is not much concrete information on Bdeogale jacksoni, it is clear that populations in most areas are decreasing, probably as a result of habitat loss. Newly discovered evidence that this species has expanded its geographic range into Tanzania provides a slight amount of comfort, because it reveals the adaptability of Bdeogale jacksoni. (De Luca and Rovero, 2006; Van Rompaey, et al., 2008)


Naomi Fleischmann (author), Michigan State University, Barbara Lundrigan (editor), Michigan State University, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


flesh of dead animals.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


uses sight to communicate

young precocial

young are relatively well-developed when born


Creel, S., A. Read, J. Rood, W. Wozencraft. 2007. "Mongooses" (On-line). Oxford Reference. Accessed March 07, 2014 at

De Luca, D., F. Rovero. 2006. First records in Tanzania of the Vulnerable Jackson's mongoose Bdeogale jacksoni (Herpestidae). Cambridge Journals, 40: 468-471. Accessed March 13, 2014 at

Kirschbaum, K. 2004. "Accipitridae" (On-line). Accessed April 17, 2014 at

Thomas, 2005. "Wilson and Reeder's Mammal Species of the World" (On-line). Accessed March 09, 2014 at

Van Rompaey, H., D. De Luca, F. Rovero, M. Hoffmann. 2008. "Bdeogale jacksoni" (On-line). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed March 09, 2014 at