The mongoose is an odd little creature. When you first hear its name, you might think that it’s a bird, or a type of lizard – it’s actually a carnivorous mammal with a bit of an attitude on it! It’s actually loosely related to the meerkat, which you may well have gotten sick of seeing on the TV over the past few years! Where is the love for the mongoose side of the family, anyway?
It’s unlikely you will see a mongoose in your back garden any time soon, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting to learn more about. In this fact file, we’ll take you through some of the most fascinating and bizarre facts about mongooses you’ll want to repeat to other animal-loving friends. Whether or not you’ve seen one in the wild – here are some great mongoose stats worth keeping track of to impress other animal lovers.
The plural of mongoose isn’t mongeese – it’s mongooses. Sounds weird, but it’s completely true!
The mongoose is generally found living across Africa. However, you will also find some in Asia and across the Caribbean. This is largely thanks to the species being introduced to new places!
Some are quick to confuse mongooses with weasels. However, the differences are pretty clear in their build and behaviour. A weasel is a little bit like a dog, whereas a mongoose will have cat-like traits.
It’s also common to mix up ferrets and mongooses. Ferrets tend to be home-friendly and domesticated. Mongooses – not so much. Mongooses will also eat pretty much everything.
Mongooses tend to have fairly complex homes. You will find that they like to burrow deep, which means that they tend to hollow and burrow down in lush areas such as forests and woodland.
However, it’s not unheard of for a mongoose to live in the desert! Many choose to live near water for survival reasons.
The mongoose is a pretty socially active creature. It’s rare that you will find any living alone, as they tend to group together in colonies of up to 50. This is the largest size.
That said, it’s not impossible for you to see a lone mongoose. It’s all down to individual taste, it seems!
Colonies of mongooses tend to be pretty fearsome. They move in waves and hunt together, meaning that if you’re a solitary snake and you come across a colony of mongooses, you’d better move quickly in the opposite direction.
The mongoose is technically a threatened species. Though it’s not at the point where it is likely to go extinct, they are under conservation watch.
The mongoose is pretty resilient against certain venoms. This means it’s able to hunt down prey which would otherwise kill many other mammals.
However, the mongoose in itself isn’t poisonous. It’s pretty unlikely you’ll get bitten by one, though.
However, a mongoose is not completely immune to snake venom – meaning that they need to be clever when hunting them down.
The mongoose has made its way around the world thanks to its hunting prowess. That is, many people have raised mongooses in an effort to cut down on the pest population.
This has a bit of a negative effect. You can’t tell a mongoose to just eat small rodents. It will vacuum up anything it deems tasty! Therefore, it’s one of the more invasive species on the planet at large.
Mongooses tend to be well-known for their ability to hunt and kill snakes. If you think snakes are scary, then you really need a mongoose by your side.
Mongooses are known to groom each other, specifically, it is the Indian variant of the mammal that does this.
It’s very unlikely that a mongoose will ever attack you. For one thing, you are much larger than it!
Mongooses are also under threat from many bigger predators, such as the leopard and the marabou stork. Bizarrely, they are also threatened by snakes. This is a fairly unique predator-prey battle that switches around.
There are actually 34 different species of mongoose. Believe it or not, the mongoose isn’t actually a rodent, as many believe. It’s a type of Hepestidae. This means it’s a cousin of the meerkat, which is a bit less threatening!
Mongooses are also known to eat the eggs of endangered birds. Therefore, they are not always the conservationist’s friend.
It’s entirely possible to domesticate and raise a mongoose as a pet, but there are often laws preventing you from doing so. In the US, for example, you will face fines unless you have a permit.
The mongoose will likely give birth to up to five pups up to four times a year. Interestingly, mothers try to synchronise births, meaning that they will try to make sure they all survive in one ‘attempt’.
There are some mongooses which will stride into waters to find prey. A great example is the marsh mongoose which, as you might expect, goes marsh diving for food.
The mongoose has its own varied vocabulary and communication system, consisting of various growls, barks, and clucks. They can identify each other through the tone in their calls, for example.
Some researchers believe that mongooses exhibit the first ever non-human example of vowel and consonant use!
The Ancient Egyptians didn’t just revere cats, but mongooses, too. There are actually tombs of mummified mongooses!
It’s thought that some mongooses have their own traditions and traits which they actually pass on to the next generation in line! It’s another really curious human link.
Mongooses have a fantastic alarm system; in that they will quickly raise the flag with a screech or a yell to alert others in the colony to take cover.
The mongoose doesn’t always dig its own burrow or tunnel. In fact, it’s a bit of a cuckoo – it will normally take over tunnels and burrows if they are no longer in use!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about mongoose that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!