Mongooses are long, furry animals with a bushy tail and a pointed face. Despite the common belief, mongooses aren’t rodents. They’re members of the Herpestidae family, which also includes meerkats and civets.
There are 33 species of mongoose; they live in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Mongooses like rocky places, but they can also live in semi-aquatic areas and forests. Since they’re easily adaptable, they aren’t endangered. Some mongoose species lead predominantly solitary lives, searching for food only for themselves, whereas others travel in groups, sharing food among members of the group and their offsprings.
Mongooses live in burrows that consist complex system of tunnels or in trees in several different kinds of landscapes, including tropical forests and deserts. For example, the bushy-tailed mongoose lives in the lowland forests near rivers. Gambian mongoose lives in areas with forests, coastal scrubs, and grasslands.
Mongooses are nocturnal i.e. active during the day and sleep at night. Throughout the day, they chatter continuously to each other, and combine discrete sound units somewhat like human speech, using syllable and vowel combinations to possibly coordinate foraging information, group movements, and other essential messages.
According to National Geographic, Most mongoose species live in Africa, but some also live in the Iberian Peninsula and southern Asia. Some mongoose species have been introduced into other parts of the world, such as Hawaiian and Caribbean islands. Here are some interesting facts about mongoose.
1. Mongooses are a common spectacle at the roadside shows in Pakistan. On Okinawa (where mongooses were inappropriately brought in to control local habu snakes), mongoose fights with these very venomous snakes in a closed area were presented as spectator occasions at such parks as Okinawa World; but, the animal rights activists piled pressure to abolish such activities, the spectacle is less popular today.
2. The lifespan of mongoose in its natural habitat is not yet known; however, it’s known that the average lifespan in captivity is 20 years.
3. The Indian gray mongoose and other species are well known for their ability to fight and even kill venomous snakes, predominantly cobras. They’re adept at such tasks because of their thick coats, agility, and specialized acetylcholine receptors which render them immune or resistant to the venom of the snakes. However, they usually avoid cobras since they don’t have an affinity for the consumption of its meat.
3. The Mongoose produces a high-pitched noise, commonly referred to as giggling when mating. Giggling is heard during courtship as well.
4. Some mongoose species can learn simple tricks. They can be semi-domesticated and are kept as pets to control vermin. But, they can be more damaging than desired; when imported into the West Indies to help kill rats, they caused significant damage to the small, ground-based fauna.
For this reason, it’s illegal to import most mongoose species into Australia, the US, and other countries. In 1883, Mongooses were brought to Hawaii and have had an adverse effect on the native species.
5. Smallest mongoose can weigh up to 0,5 pound and reach ten inches in length. Largest can weigh up to eight pounds and reach 28 to 30 inches in length.
6. Mongooses use the solid object to break the eggshell, or they throw eggs to the hard surface to break them.
7. Mongooses occupy in abandoned burrows. They hardly dig burrows on their own.
8. Large mongoose group protects their young ones by attacking the predators with their sharp claws.
9. Mongooses have non-retractable claws that mean they cannot hide them when they want. Their claws are always visible.
10. They’ve brown or grayish fur, and some of them have ringed tail and striped coat.
11. Mongooses are omnivores that means they eat both vegetation and meat. Often, they prefer to eat small animals such as reptiles, birds, snakes, fish, crabs, frogs, rodents, worms, and insects. They’ll also supplement their diet with nuts, roots, fruits, seeds, and berries.