noun \ˈmän-ˌgüs, ˈmäŋ-\

: a small and very fast animal from India that eats snakes and rodents

plural mon·goos·es also mon·geese \-ˌgēs\

Full Definition of MONGOOSE

:  any of numerous carnivorous mammals (family Herpestidae) that are agile usually ferret-sized mammals sometimes with bands or stripes, feed chiefly on small animals and fruits, and are sometimes grouped with the viverrids in two subfamilies (Herpestinae and Galidiinae)

Illustration of MONGOOSE

Origin of MONGOOSE

Hindi & Marathi mãgūs, from Prakrit maṁgūsa
First Known Use: 1698


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of the 37 species of carnivores constituting the family Herpestidae, found in Africa, Asia, and southern Europe. Rudyard Kipling's famous “Rikki-tikki-tavi” was an Indian, or gray, mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii); the meerkat is also a member of the mongoose family. Species range from 7 to 35 in. (17 to 90 cm) long, excluding the furry 6–12-in. (15–30-cm) tail. Mongooses have short legs, a pointed nose, and small ears. Most species are active during the day. The gray to brown fur may have light flecks or dark markings. Mongooses live in burrows, alone, in pairs, or in large groups, and they eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, eggs, and fruit. A few species are semiaquatic. Though not immune to venom, some species attack and kill poisonous snakes by cracking the skull with a powerful bite.


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