Its diet consists mainly of meat, including rodents, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Fruit and eggs are also popular food items; to crack it open, the latter is characteristically thrown between the legs against a rock or wall. Like other mongooses, the Egyptian mongoose will attack and eat venomous snakes. They have shown a high level of resistance to three species of venomous snake Vipera palaestinae, Walterinnesia aegyptia & Naja nigricollis.[7]

Ranging in size from the 7-inch-long (18-centimeter-long) dwarf mongoose to the 2-foot-long (60-centimeter-long) Egyptian mongoose; these sleek mammals have long bodies with short legs and tapered snouts.

They’re rarely seen. Even less often photographed. Bryde’s whales rocket through Pacific shallows to gorge on fish. Dive in for more.

Males and females become sexually mature at two years of age. Mating occurs in July or August, and after a gestation period of 11 weeks, the female gives birth to 2–4 young. Egyptian mongooses are blind and hairless when born, but open their eyes after about a week.[5]

Checked (24/08/10) by Dr Francis Gilbert, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~plzfg/

In Christopher Smart's poem, Jubilate Agno, the poet's cat Jeoffry was praised in line 63: "For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land," for a purported attack on an Egyptian mongoose.

The Egyptian mongoose favours habitats with dense vegetation and a good water supply, such as near streams, rivers, swamps, and agricultural land (1) (2) (4). It avoids humid forests and desert (1).

A sociable mammal that lives in pairs or family groups, it is likely that each group defends a territory together. The Egyptian mongoose can arch its back and raise its fur when excited or threatened and can rear up on its hind legs to check its surroundings. Although rarely heard, it is capable of chattering, squeaking and growling (2).

In Egyptian mythology, Ra would metamorphose into a giant ichneumon ("over 24 metres") to fight the evil god-snake Apopis. Ichneumon worship has been attested in several cities: Heliopolis, Buto, Sais, Athribis, Bubastis, Herakleopolis Magna, etc. Numerous ichneumon mummies have been found.[8]

The Egyptian mongoose has a body 48–60 cm long, and a 33–54 cm tail. It weighs 1.7–4 kg.[6]

In the 1800s mongooses were introduced to several islands in Hawaii and the West Indies in order to control the rodent populations on sugarcane plantations. Today this effort has come back to haunt these islands as mongooses threaten the survival of various native species, particularly birds. However, in their natural environments mongooses are currently threatened themselves due to habitat loss.

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The Egyptian mongoose occurs through much of sub-Saharan Africa, except for the Congo Basin and a large portion of the southwest (1) (2). Its range also stretches from Sudan and Egypt through the Sinai Peninsula to Turkey, and it has been introduced to Spain and Portugal (1).

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While the Egyptian mongoose is currently not the focus of any specific conservation efforts, it is present in many protected areas across its distribution (1).  

The Egyptian mongoose is primarily active in the day time, but it can also be active at night. It inhabits a den that can be natural, such as a rock crevice or a thicket of vegetation, or it may dig or adopt a burrow (2) (6).

In Europe, it occurs mostly in the Iberian Peninsula, where it would have been introduced during the Arab occupation (which lasted, in whole, from 711 AD through 1492 AD, though more markedly in certain southern areas). The Moors may have imported this mongoose, and probably also the genet (Genetta genetta), to hunt rats. Some individuals, escaping captivity, would have become feral. It is known as "meloncillo" in Spanish and "sacarrabos" ("tail robber") in Portuguese.

There are no major threats to this species. In Spain and Portugal, where the Egyptian mongoose was introduced, it is considered a pest and is often poisoned and trapped (1).

This mongoose can be found in Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Palestine, and most of sub-Saharan Africa, except for central Democratic Republic of the Congo, western South Africa, and Namibia. It has been introduced to Madagascar, Portugal, Spain and Italy.[3][4]

Mongooses are primarily found in Africa, their range covering most of the continent. Some species occupy parts of southern Asia and the Iberian Peninsula. They are generally terrestrial mammals, but some are semi-aquatic, and others are at home in the treetops.

John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet, wrote a poem as an elegy for an ichneumon, which had been brought to Haverhill Academy in Haverhill, New Hampshire, in 1830. The long lost poem was published in the November 20, 1902 issue of "The Independent" Magazine.

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the oldest species of seal on the planet. But their tenure in paradise is perilously close to its end; only about 1,100 seals remain in the wild.

Famously, some species of mongoose will boldly attack venomous snakes such as cobras. The most celebrated of these is Rudyard Kipling’s fictional Rikki-tikki-tavi, based on an ancient fable and included in The Jungle Book.

The Egyptian mongoose is extremely numerous. While its numbers threaten other species, it is not at risk of extinction.[3]

Mongooses live in burrows and are nondiscriminatory predators, feeding on small animals such as rodents, birds, reptiles, frogs, insects, andworms. Some species supplement their diet with fruits, nuts, and seeds. Creative hunters, they are known to break open bird eggs by throwing them with their forepaws toward a solid object.

Most wild mongooses live for 12 years. The longest lived captive mongoose was over 20 years old.[3]

The Egyptian mongoose has a slender body, with a pointed snout and small ears. It has 35–40 teeth, with highly developed carnassials, used for shearing meat. Its long, coarse fur ranges in colour from grey to reddish brown and is ticked with brown or yellow flecks. Their tails have black tips. The hind feet and a small area around the eyes are furless.

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It prefers to live in forests, savanna, or scrub, but never far from water.[5]

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The Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), also known as the ichneumon, is a species of mongoose. It may be a reservoir host for visceral leishmaniasis in Sudan.[2]

Generally there is no particular breeding season for the Egyptian mongoose, although in the Middle East the majority of births take place in the spring. Most litters comprise two to four young, which are born after a gestation period of 49 to 84 days (2) (6).

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Egyptian Mongoose

They normally have brown or gray grizzled fur, and a number of species sport striped coats or ringed tails.

In some rural areas of Egypt, such as upper Egypt, it is bred as a household pet.

The Egyptian mongoose is diurnal and lives in small groups of 1–7 animals, usually consisting of a male, several females, and their young. Male offspring usually leave the group before they are a year old; females stay longer, and may not leave at all.[6]

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).