Fun Mongooses Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 18, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Mongooses facts for kids and adults talk about their Herpestidae family
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.7 Min

If you live in Southern Asia or Southern Europe, or in Africa, then you must have seen mongooses running around the neighborhood. Let's find out a little bit more about them, they belong to the family Herpestidae. Some more famous species among them are the common dwarf mongoose, yellow mongoose, Indian mongoose, Hawaiian mongoose or banded mongoose (Mungos mungo), and more. The banded mongooses are mainly native to Southern Africa and live in burrows or trees.

Pups or adults, mongooses are known to be predators. Their prey ranges from insects, frogs, snakes, including venomous snakes, and more. Their ability to kill a venomous snake like the cobra and digest its venom precede them. The snake and mongoose are known to be enemies, and you may have heard mongoose vs cobra stories. The predators of mongoose include some leopards, hawks, jackals, and more. They can be harmful to the environment, too, as they can affect the population of birds and snakes surrounding their habitat.

Read on to know more fascinating facts about the mongoose animal. For more facts, take a look at the Boykin Spaniel and the kingsnake

Mongoose Interesting Facts

What type of animal are mongooses?

The mongoose is a small mammal that is known for its ability to kill rodents and snakes.

What class of animal do mongooses belong to?

The mongoose belongs to the class Mammalia and family Herpestidae of animals.

How many mongooses are there in the world?

There are 34 species of mongoose that belong to 20 different genera, and they are a pretty common animal in their habitat. Hence, the exact population of mongooses in number is not yet known.

Where do mongooses live?

Mongooses are mainly seen in Africa. But other than that, one genus can be seen in abundance throughout Southern Europe and Southern Asia. There are a few genera of mongooses that are native to Madagascar. Many mongoose species have recently been introduced to many other parts of the world to control the population of rodents, pests, or snakes.

What is a mongoose's habitat?

Most of the mongooses are terrestrial in nature. But some of them are semi-aquatic. The terrestrial mongoose can be seen living in different types of habitat like forests, woodlands, Savannah in Africa, semi-arid areas, and more. Many of them live in burrows which they make for themselves. Some of them can even be seen on treetops.

Who do mongooses live with?

Some species among the mongooses can be seen living with others from their own species, almost like a human family living together, mainly in colonies or large groups, like a family. These large groups can consist of more than 50 mongooses. But some among the 34 mongoose species can be seen living solitary lives.

How long do mongooses live?

On average, mongooses live around 6-10 years if they are living in the wild. They become fully mature between the ages of nine months and two years. The mongooses in captivity, on the other hand, have been recorded to be able to live for around 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Not much is known about the breeding habits or the reproductive cycle of a mongoose, and many rituals and habits surrounding the reproduction of mongooses differ in accordance with the various mongoose species. But some habits and facts can be determined on an average. Mongooses mature at the age of nine months to two years. The breeding season for the mongoose comes in the months of October to December and in the months of March and May. After the copulation happens during this breeding season, the gestation period can last from 42 to 105 days. After it ends, the females give birth to between one and four mongoose pups.

What is their conservation status?

According to the report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, most of the mongoose species are listed as Least Concerned, but a few like the short-tailed mongoose and the collared mongoose are listed as Near Threatened.

Mongoose Fun Facts

What do mongooses look like?

Fun mongoose facts for animal lovers

The appearance of a mongoose changes in accordance with the different kinds of mongoose species. But all the mongooses have short heads along with pointed snouts, and their ears are rounded and small. These ears are usually not perky or erect. For most of the mongoose species, the fur color tends to be gray or brown. Some among the mongoose species have stripes, and some do not. Only a few of them have ringed tails, and none of them have retractable claws. They have short legs.

How cute are they?

These animals neither possess a cute look nor good behavioral characteristics that would make them seem cute. These animals have short heads with pointed snouts and a disheveled look to them which is not really favorable for some people. Some of them have been known to have a selfish nature, which definitely helps their case as predators. But if anyone has a kind eye for these animals and they think mongooses are cute, we won't be the ones to judge.

How do they communicate?

Mongooses have an anal gland through which they secrete a smelly substance, and they communicate with each other with the help of this secretion and urine. Other than these, mongooses also communicate by vocalization. Mongooses usually hunt in the day and sleep through the night. During the daytime, they talk to each other by chattering constantly. Their method of forming speech to communicate with each other is similar to that of humans.

How big are mongooses?

These animals usually have a long body. The length of their head and body reaches about 7to 25 in (17.8 to 63.5 cm), while the length of their tails reaches about 6 to 21 in (15.2 to 53.3 cm). The average size of a mongoose is the same as that of a cat.

How fast can mongooses run?

Mongooses can't run very fast. They are slow terrestrial animals. They have an average speed of around 20 mph or 32.2 km/h.

How much do mongooses weigh?

Mongooses are small to medium-sized animals, and thus they don't weigh much. An average-sized mongoose can usually weigh up to 11 lb or 5 kg.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the males and the females of the mongoose species.

What would you call a baby mongoose?

Like most mammals, the baby mongoose is called a pup, and a group of baby mongooses is called a litter.

What do they eat?

The mongooses are known to be predators, but some can be seen to supplement their diet with seeds, nuts, or fruits too. So, they are essentially omnivores in nature. In terms of hunting, mongooses eat just about everything. The semi-aquatic mongooses can go into the water and feed on a variety of aquatic organisms such as fish or crabs. The terrestrial ones eat many kinds of insects, frogs, reptiles, small mammals, and birds, including their eggs. They are known to take up the eggs from nests and throw them toward something hard with their forepaw. Also, their reputation for being able to kill venomous snakes such as adders or cobras precedes them. They are not immune to snake venom, but they are fast and extremely agile, which helps with their hunt for these snakes.

Are they friendly?

They are not friendly towards other animals, rather dangerous to snakes, birds, and some aquatic animals. They usually take eggs from bird's nests, and the semi-aquatic ones are known to steal eggs from sea turtles. They can kill venomous snakes due to their super ninja moves and eat them too. They are not friendly to people, but they are also not dangerous to us. If they detect danger approaching, their immediate response is to flee. However, if they feel threatened in any manner, they will fight and may bite. If a mongoose gets rabies, it might go insane and bite you for no apparent reason. In any case, it's best to stay away from the wild mongooses.

Would they make a good pet?

Mongooses can be seen kept as pets any many places in the world. But, they are also prohibited in many places like the United States, where you need to have a special license to keep them as pets. Mongooses are not essentially dangerous to humans, but they are a bit harmful to the environment where they live in. That's why the places where they are not native inhabitants have rules in place in order to stop people from keeping them as pets. They are small, have beautifully colored, and may sometimes have marked fur. Some of them have also been seen to be friendly and good-natured towards humans. But, you need to take them in when they are young to get them accustomed to living indoors.

Did you know...

The plural of mongoose can be 'mongooses' or 'mongeese'. Not many people use the term 'mongeese', though.

Mongooses can become a threat to other animals of nature pretty quickly. In the 1800s, with the intention of controlling pests, rodents, and snakes, many mongooses were introduced in the regions of the West Indies and Hawaii. But they soon became a problem as the population of birds also started to come down due to the presence of the mongooses.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a book named 'Rikki-Tikki-Tavi' based on an ancient fable. This book has a mongoose as the protagonist.

The smallest mongoose is the common dwarf mongoose (Helogale parvula), and the largest mongoose is the white-tailed mongoose. The common dwarf mongoose is only about 10 in (25.4 cm) in length, and the white-tailed mongoose can grow up to about 28-30 in (71.1-76.2 cm) in length.

The origin of the Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) can be traced back to Egyptian paintings, which in turn can be dated back to 300 B.C. The Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) was considered holy animals by the people and known as 'Pharaoh's Cat'.

What sound does a mongoose make?

Mongooses are mainly vocal during the daytime because they are known to be active during the day. They talk to each other in monosyllabic sounds, which are very similar to that of humans. The ones living in rainforests make whistling sounds to keep in contact with each other. When the breeding season comes, mongooses can be heard making giggling sounds to communicate with potential partners to let them know that they are ready to mate.

How do mongooses eat eggs?

Mongooses can be sneaky. They take eggs from nests of birds while semi-aquatic mongooses go for eggs of sea turtles. They either take the eggs and smash them on a hard surface to get, or they throw them on any hard surface they can find with their forepaws to break the eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including black-footed ferret and the stoat.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our mongoose coloring pages.

Mongooses Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Snakes, birds, frogs, eggs

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

Up to 11 lb (5 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

forests, desert, semi-arid, semi-aquatic

Where Do They Live?

africa, and south europe

How Long Were They?

13-46 in (33-116.8 cm) inclusive of tails

How Tall Were They?





Mungos, Helogale



Scientific Name

Banded mongoose - Mungos mungo Common dwarf mongoose - Helogale parvula

What Do They Look Like?

Gray, brown

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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