While mongooses often live in burrows, they rarely dig them themselves, instead opting to move into vacant burrows left by other animals.
Amazing Facts About the Mongoose
- There are a range of different types of mongoose (over 30 species). While most are terrestrial, some are semi-aquatic or arboreal. Some species are nocturnal, while others are diurnal.
- Mongooses generally have long bodies, with short legs, rounded ears, tapered snouts and long faces. Their fur tends to be brown or grey, however some species have striped coats or ringed tails. They are incredibly adaptable animals, who prey on a huge variety of species and strive in a wide range of habitats.
- Mongooses use alarm calls to warn others of the presence of danger. On hearing an alarm call, they will quickly rush to the nearest hole for safety. In species that live in groups mongooses take turns of being the sentinel, looking out for danger.
- While mongooses often live in burrows, they rarely dig them themselves, instead opting to move into vacant burrows left by other animals.
- A recent study by scientists from the University of Exeter has found that banded mongooses pass on traditions (relating to foraging) from generation to generation. This practice had previously been thought be reserved for humans and so-called higher animals such as other primates.
- Mongooses are extremely quick and agile. This allows them to effectively dodge the attacks of snakes with relative ease.
- In various species mongooses use scent markings to mark their territory, and to communicate their reproductive status.
- The male mongoose is the animal symbol of ‘Uttara Ashadha’ in the Nakshatras of Vedic astrology; and represents independence.
- The animal totem for mongoose is said to have the magical attributes: defence, protection, and destroying evil. One chant is: Mongoose-power, come to our Defense. Destroy all ill intent. Corner, cage, with righteous rage, All those who threaten, harm or kill. Imprison, bind, those of dark mind, Beneath the mongoose-power and will.
- The mongoose was a sacred and revered animal in Ancient Egypt. Mummified mongooses have been found in ancient tombs, and there are also images of mongooses on funeral urns.
- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Omnivore
- Lifespan: 10-15 years
- Size: 18-65 cm excluding tail
- Weight: 340 g to 5 kg
- Habitat: Extremely varied e.g. bush, open forests and plains
- Range: Africa, Southern Europe and Asia
- Scientific name: Herpestidae