You may be naturally inclined to think that mongooses are rodent but, think again! They actually come from the same family from where the meerkats and civets come. They are deadly foes of the slithery and repelling serpents and in a face off between the two, it is almost always, assured death of one.
There are some incredible mongoose versus snakes videos that you can catch on YouTube but here in this article, we are going to give you a list of facts about these incredible animals that possess hearts of steel and dare to stand against the deadly snakes that even humans are afraid of! So, let us begin with out list of 30 interesting mongoose facts but before that, some quick info:
Treetops, grasslands, deserts
Can be found in
Europe, Asia and Africa
20 miles per hour
Nearly 2 months
Number of pups in one litter
Weight during birth
Characteristics at birth
Hairless and blind
Get independent within
Around 10 months
Level of endangerment
Lions and eagles
6-10 years in wild and 20 years in captivity
Interesting Mongoose Facts: 1-5
1. Mongooses are mostly found in Africa, Iberian peninsula and Asia.
2. They are usually found on treetops, in deserts and in grasslands. Some can be found near water bodies as well.
3. There are around 20 genera and 34 species in which mongooses are categorized.
4. Their sizes varies with species. Some species may grow a meager 7 inches in length while some others can get as long as 2 feet.
5. They generally have gray or brown fur and some of the mongoose species show ringed tails and streaked coat.
Interesting Mongoose Facts: 6-10
6. These animals have very short limbs. They walk on their toes and hence, known as digitigrade.
7. They belong to the same family as civets. They appear like weasels but are not related to them at all. They are omnivorous animals.
8. It is generally known that some species of mongoose (especially Indian gray mongoose, H. edwardsi) attack venomous snakes but, did you know that Rikki-tikki-tavi, a mongoose from The Jungle Book (written by Rudyard Kipling) is probably the most famous in this category?
9. Mongooses have developed special ability. We all know that brains have neurotransmitters. Mongooses are no different. They have a particular neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine, the receptor of which has mutated in such a way that mongooses have became partially immune to snake venom.
10. When a snake bites a mongoose (even a cobra), the venom fails to bind to the receptors of acetylcholine. This means that muscles-nerve communication is not blocked and the venom bounces off the cells of the muscles.
Interesting Mongoose Facts: 11-15
11. However, this does not mean that mongooses are completely immune. If a snake manages to bite repeatedly, a mongoose can die and end up becoming a lovely lunch or dinner for the snake.
12. The mongoose learns to dodge the strikes of snake. It is generally seen that many young mongoose die because they are not yet perfect in dodging snake bites.
13. The question is, how does a mongoose kill a snake, especially an opponent like a King Cobra? The secret is in speed and accurate bite. When a snake strikes, the mongoose leaps off. A mongoose will actually provoke a snake to strike repeatedly and keep dodging until the snake is tired. At that point, the mongoose will take a leap and aim directly for the snake’s head. A perfect bite will crush the snake’s skull, ending its story right there.
14. Mongooses will happily eat snakes as dinner or lunch and they actually tend to eat the whole snake including its venom sack.
15. When the snake venom is digested, it causes no harm to the mongoose. That’s because, the venom of a snake needs to be injected into the body of the victim to become lethal. The neutralized snake cannot do that and hence, its venom just becomes the gravy of the meaty meal for mongoose.
Interesting Mongoose Facts: 16-20
16. In cobra versus mongoose fights, about 80% of the times the mongooses emerge victorious.
17. Not all mongooses will attack King Cobras. Usually, the gray mongoose and the slender mongoose are the two species that take on the deadly and swift King Cobras.
18. As we said earlier, mongooses are omnivores. While they have specially affinity for snake diets, they do eat other things including worms, insects, frogs, small reptiles, birds, rodents, seeds, nuts and fruits.
19. They even enjoy bird eggs. However, it is not easy for them to break open an egg. So, what they do is they use their forepaws and throw the eggs towards a rock or a solid object to break open the eggs.
20. Earlier in 1800s, mongooses were introduced in places like Hawaii and West Indies with an intention to control the population of the rodents there. They have successfully tackled this problem but created another one.
Interesting Mongoose Facts: 21-25
21. The mongooses proved to be a threat for the endogenous species of animals like birds. However, the irony is that these mongooses are threatened in their own natural habitat because of habitat loss.
22. Did you know that in America it is unlawful to import mongooses, even for the zoos. It is because of the destruction they created in Hawaii and West Indies that America took such a step.
23. They are social animals which live in packs. The numbers in a pack varies from species to species. In general, it is around 6-40 mongooses in a pack. In some species, the pack usually has an alpha male and an alpha female. They lead the pack and this couple is the only couple which can copulate to produce more mongooses.
24. The pack or mob or gang works as a family. Some hunt, some take care of young ones and any one of the member stands as a guard. This guard whistles or cries to inform other mongooses of any danger. Then they take shelter in their burrows till everything gets normal again.
25. The mongooses which go for hunting bring back their prey and share it freely with other members.
Interesting Mongoose Facts: 26-30
26. Not just eggs, they will even crack open mollusks, crabs, nuts and shells by throwing them onto a stone or a rock. Researchers saw some other simple usage of tools like this in mongooses.
27. In some species, we see what is called as synchronized estrous cycles in female mongooses. They mate with dominant males in the pack and give birth almost at the same time. There will be some baby sitters in that pack to take care of such huge number of pups.
28. In some species, the mongooses don’t form any group or pack. They meet only once a year during the mating season. The male may stay and help the female to raise the pups or sometimes it is only female who takes care of her kids.
29. In other species, the young ones ask for food from only one mongoose which is called as an escort. This escort should feed the kids till they get independent.
30. Did you know that female mongooses give birth only once a year but may deliver twice if the first litter dies?
- Tuberculosis is a human disease but it is found even in mongooses.
- Egyptian tombs not only had mummified human bodies but also mummified mongooses!
- Mongooses fur is used to make paint brushes which are sent to America and Europe illegally. These paintbrushes are highly expensive.
- Mongooses have horizontal pupils.