Egyptian mongoose
The Egyptian Mongoose also known as the Ichneumon, is a species of mongoose
Mongoose are a family of 33 living species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Four additional species from Madagascar in the subfamily Galidiinae, which were previously classified in this family, are also referred to as "mongooses" or "mongoose-like"...

. It may be a reservoir host
Natural reservoir
Natural reservoir or nidus, refers to the long-term host of the pathogen of an infectious disease. It is often the case that hosts do not get the disease carried by the pathogen or it is carried as a subclinical infection and so asymptomatic and non-lethal...

 for Visceral leishmaniasis
Visceral leishmaniasis
Visceral leishmaniasis , also known as kala-azar, black fever, and Dumdum fever, is the most severe form of leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus. This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world , responsible for an...

 in Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...


Range and habitat

This mongoose can be found in Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, and most of sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

, except for central Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

, western South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

. It has been introduced to Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 and Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...


It prefers to live in forests, savanna
A savanna, or savannah, is a grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently small or widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of C4 grasses.Some...

, or scrub, but never far from water.


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

The Egyptian Mongoose has a slender body, with a pointed snout
The snout, or muzzle, is the protruding portion of an animal's face, consisting of its nose, mouth, and jaw.-Terminology:The term "muzzle", used as a noun, can be ambiguous...

 and small ears. It has 35–40 teeth, with highly developed carnassial
Carnassials are large teeth found in many carnivorous mammals, used for shearing flesh and bone in a scissor- or shear-like way. In the Carnivora, the carnassials are the modified last upper premolar and the first molar, but in the prehistoric creodonts, the carnassials were further back in the...

s, 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.


Males and females become sexually mature at two years of age. Mating occurs in July or August, and after a gestation period
Gestation period
For mammals the gestation period is the time in which a fetus develops, beginning with fertilization and ending at birth. The duration of this period varies between species.-Duration:...

 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.

The Egyptian Mongoose is diurnal
Diurnal animal
Diurnality is a plant or animal behavior characterized by activity during the day and sleeping at night.-In animals:Animals that are not diurnal might be nocturnal or crepuscular . Many animal species are diurnal, including many mammals, insects, reptiles and birds...

 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.

Most wild mongooses live for 12 years. The longest lived captive
Captivity (animal)
Animals that live under human care are in captivity. Captivity can be used as a generalizing term to describe the keeping of either domesticated animals or wild animals. This may include for example farms, private homes and zoos...

 mongoose was over 20 years old.

Its diet consists mainly of meat, including rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

s, fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s, 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
Vipera palaestinae
Vipera palaestinae is a venomous viper species found in the geographical region of Palestine, more specifically, an area spanning western Syria, northwestern Jordan, northern and central Israel, the West Bank and Lebanon. It is considered a leading cause of snakebite within its range...

, Walterinnesia aegyptia
Walterinnesia aegyptia
Walterinnesia aegyptia is a genus of venomous elapid snake, also known as the Desert Black Snake or Desert Cobra. It was long considered to be the only species within the genus Walterinnesia. However, it was recently found that the eastern populations actually represent a different species, W....

& Naja nigricollis
Naja nigricollis
Naja nigricollis is a species of spitting cobra found in Sub Saharan Africa. It is feared throughout its range and has the capability of spraying venom at attackers as a defensive mechanism...


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


The Egyptian Mongoose is extremely numerous. While its numbers threaten other species, it is not at risk of extinction.


John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier was an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. He is usually listed as one of the Fireside Poets...

, American poet, wrote a poem as an elegy for an ichneumon, which had been brought to Haverhill Academy in Haverhill, New Hampshire
Haverhill, New Hampshire
Haverhill is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 4,697 at the 2010 census. Haverhill includes the villages of Woodsville, Pike, and North Haverhill, the historic town center at Haverhill Corner, and the district of Mountain Lakes...

, in 1830. The long lost poem was published in the November 20, 1902 issue of "The Independent" Magazine.

In Christopher Smart
Christopher Smart
Christopher Smart , also known as "Kit Smart", "Kitty Smart", and "Jack Smart", was an English poet. He was a major contributor to two popular magazines and a friend to influential cultural icons like Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding. Smart, a high church Anglican, was widely known throughout...

's poem, Jubilate Agno
Jubilate Agno
Jubilate Agno is a religious poem by Christopher Smart, and was written between 1759 and 1763, during Smart's confinement for insanity in St. Luke's Hospital, Bethnal Green, London. The poem was first published in 1939, under the title Rejoice in the Lamb: A Song from Bedlam, edited by W. F...

, 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 source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.