ID Help – Mongoose spp. Kafue NP, Zambia


An ongoing camera trap study being carried out by Musekese Conservation research team captured this image of a black mongoose in the Northern Kafue NP (the Musekese-Lumbeya region).

As far as I am aware only the Meller’s Mongoose is found in Western Zambia (of the two tough ones, Meller’s and Bushy-tailed) but to me this looks more Bushy-tailed? Maybe Water Mongoose but it doesn’t look quite right for that and was captured a little way from the main Kafue River (not near any swamp/marsh/drainage).

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.




  • C&M.Stuart

    Chris & Mathilde Stuart- Looks to us like Water (Marsh) Mongoose. They often wander several km away from water bodies. We have first-hand experience with this in Karoo, South Africa- up to 15km away from any surface water. If you could let us have an image we could blow up we could be more certain.

  • Charles Foley

    HI Tyrone,

    I’m pretty certain its a Bushy tailed mongoose. The tail is the characteristic bog-brush shape, plus it lacks the lower white lip of the Marsh mongoose.


  • Venkat Sankar

    Agree with Charles that it’s more likely a Bushy-tailed Mongoose. The very fluffy, filled out tail fits this species much better than Marsh, as does the lack of white coloration on its chin. The one thing that gives me pause for thought is that the head does seem somewhat more robust than I’m used to for Bushy-tailed, but that could just be a trick of the camera angle & shadow.

    Also a question for Tyrone – have you gotten Meller’s or Selous’s Mongoose on camera in Kafue and if so, how frequently?

  • KafueTyrone

    Thanks all.

    Yes Marsh certainly feasible, though this was a good 15km from the nearest known water body (the Kafue River) and I have personally never seen one in Kafue anywhere other than the swamps of Busanga.

    Bushy-tailed apparently only in the Luangwa within Zambia I believe so this would be quite something I guess?

    In answer to your question Venkat – Meller’s yes, we used to see a pair nearby Musekese Camp relatively regularly for a few seasons. Selous I have only ever seen on the Kapinga Island, a sandy island within the Busanga Plains – nowhere else ever in Kafue (maybe they are there in Southern Kafue, Nanzhila region where more sandier soils prevail). Plenty of Selous in Liuwa Plains (Striped Polecat too)!

  • Matt & Maureen

    We saw a bushy-tailed mongoose up close recently, and it had a more pointed muzzle & head than this. But I agree it could be that this one is turned away from the camera.

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