Help us ID Mammals from Uganda: a couple mongooses, a couple of genets, 2 mice, a gerbil and a squirrel
Alex Meyer and I have just recently visited Uganda, and saw lots of cool and interesting mammals – but before I can put together a full report, we would like to get everyone’s help with identifying some mammals.
Any input will be appreciated! Please see attached PDF below:
Depending on size Pousargue’s mongoose might fit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pousargues%27s_mongoose
I agree with Luke about the mongooses both being dark-north white-tailed, and the genets being maculata. Just to add that Luke is a renowned African carnivore expert, so it’s an easy decision to concur with!
I also agree that the rat running on the tree branch is a Link rat. That’s a really good species to see, so well done with that sighting. The gerbil is one of the Gerbilliscus, although not leucogaster. It’s probably G. kempi or validus. If I was to have to bet my life (or better yet your life) on choosing one, I would go for kempi, as the tail looks longer than the body, but don’t hold me to that. As for the little mouse in the bush, you’re on your own with that one. Next time grab it!
And the squirrel… bloody African squirrels; I’m convinced they’ve been put on earth just to taunt mammal watchers. The tail is quite red, but it’s dark body and the fact that there are no striations on the tail would make me lean towards another Carruther’s.
I look forward to seeing your trip write-up.
Mostly just agreeing with others at this point, but for what it’s worth:
1,2) Dark-phase White-tailed Mongoose. This color morph seems more common than the “normal” animals in the Sudanian savanna region.
3) As Charles says, I also reckon kempi as the tail looks longer than the HB. No real way to eliminate validus though completely from the photos.
4) Deomys. The rich chestnut fur, large-ish ears, and long tail leave me almost certain on this one. A little weird to have it 2m above ground as I understand they’re typically terrestrial, but it seems they can climb well when needed. A great sighting – though based on capture records, they seem abundant in some of the Ugandan forest blocks.
No idea about the QENP mouse. I don’t see the black dorsal stripe, which should be really obvious in Dendromus melanotis (not just a darker area). There are a ton of possible rodents in this area and this one is not super distinctive, so you’d want it in the hand…
5,6) definitely Blotched Genet
7) I wonder if you Ruhija squirrel (#1) is Heliosciurus ruwenzorii. The skull looks a little heavier than in Funisciurus and (it could be an artifact of the backlit image) but I can almost make out faint banding in the (differently structured) tail. #2 is definitely Funisciurus carruthersi.
8) I’m not sure what the squirrel with the thin tail is, maybe Funisciurus as Charles says. Your last photo is 100% Heliosciurus ruwezorii to me.
Can’t see the photos well on my phone, and looks like everything’s been solved already, except for the mouse that I think could be one of dwarf Mus species (the taxonomy is changing all the time). Was it really tiny and tame?
G. kempi is very common in much of Uganda, it even occurs in Entebbe.
Indeed, link rat is supposed to be completely terrestrial. Perhaps worth publishing a short note in some local zoological journal (but first check the literature to make sure it’s as unusual as I think it is). I don’t remember if there’s anything else there with this color pattern, but I can email you good close-ups of link rat for reference if you’d like.
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I think both your mongooses are dark-morph white-tailed mg. Number 1 is unusual but i think might be recovering from sarcoptic mange (or similar); the tail and hindquarters have the distinctive look of re-growing fur after infection.
‘Normal’ genet is rusty-spotted. Melanistic one probably is also, but hard to say.