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Mongooses and Fossa: Herpestidae


Mongoose species have generalized, mainly carnivorous diets, helping themselves to insects, crabs, millipedes, earthworms, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, birds' eggs, fruits, and roots. Before eating toads or caterpillars, a mongoose will roll them back and forth on the ground to wipe off skin poisons of toads and irritating hairs of caterpillars. Among mongoose species that eat bird eggs, a mongoose will break open an individual egg by holding it in its forepaws and pitching it backward between its hindlimbs and into a rock, or by standing up on its hind legs and dropping the egg. Several species eat fruit as supplements to a mainly meat diet. Some species swim in ponds and streams, searching for fish and other aquatic animals.

An individual mongoose baits a snake by skillfully avoiding and dodging the reptile's lunges until it tires and slows down in its actions, enabling the mongoose to dart in and seize the snake behind its head, killing it by biting, then eating the snake at leisure. Mongooses are not immune to the venom, so that a mongoose-on-snake tussle is always dangerous and can end in death for either party.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsMongooses and Fossa: Herpestidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Mongooses And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE