Mongoose Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

You might have heard of a mongoose before, but you might not know about its reputation as a brave snake fighter. This lesson teaches you about the mongoose and how it lives.

What Is a Mongoose?

With a name like mongoose, you might think this lesson is about a big fat bird that honks, but a mongoose is not a type of goose. A mongoose is a sleek, fast mammal that's famous for being a brave snake hunter. Mongooses have sharp claws, quick reactions, and they are resistant to snake venom. They have been known to fight venomous snakes, like cobras, and win.

What Do They Look Like?

A mongoose has a long body, pointy nose, and short legs, like a weasel. There are different types of mongooses, so they come in different sizes and colors.

A Mongoose

The smallest type of mongoose is about seven inches long, and the largest is about two feet long. Mongooses don't weigh a lot; the largest mongoose only weighs about eight pounds, which is how much a gallon of water weighs.

Some mongooses have stripes on their body or tail, which adds a little variety to their brown or gray coat.

What Do They Eat?

Mongooses are not picky eaters; they will hunt, catch and eat just about anything they think looks tasty, like mice, birds, frogs, fish, snakes, insects, and worms. After reading that list of foods, I bet you're glad you're not a mongoose! As you can see, mongooses like meat, but some will eat plant foods, like fruit, berries, nuts and seeds to make their diet a bit tastier.

Mongooses have been known to eat eggs by cracking them against a hard surface, much like you would do in your kitchen. A mongoose might slam an egg on a rock or throw it against a tree to get to the yolk inside.

Where Do They Live?

Mongooses live in Africa, Europe, and Asia. You won't see them if you live in the United States unless you live in Hawaii. Mongooses were sent to Hawaii to kill rodents that were damaging sugarcane crops. Unfortunately, the mongooses have become a problem in Hawaii because they eat native birds that Hawaiian people want to keep.

How many mongooses do you see?

Many types of mongooses live on land, but some like to be near water or trees. They live in burrows, sometimes taking over burrows that other animals abandoned.

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