(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The Indian gray mongoose, scientific name Herpestes edwardsi is a mongoose species native to the Indian subcontinent and West Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The gray mongoose inhabits open forests, scrublands, and cultivated fields, usually near human habitation.

Indian Mongoose profile

It lives in burrows, hedgerows, and thickets, amongst groves of bushes, and takes shelter underneath rocks or bushes and even in drains. It could be very daring and inquisitive however cautious, seldom venturing removed from the cover. It climbs very properly. Usually discovered singly or in pairs.

It preys on rodents, snakes, birds’ eggs and hatchlings, lizards, and a variety of invertebrates. Along the Chambal River, it sometimes feeds on gharial eggs. It breeds all through the year.

Geographic Range

The small Indian mongoose was initially discovered throughout southeast Asia from Pakistan to the south coast of China, and all through the Malay Peninsula and Java.

However, this species has been broadly launched, together with to the West Indies, South America, Japan, Europe, and a number of other Pacific islands, to assist control rodent and snake populations.

Indian Mongoose


In the Caribbean, small Indian mongooses are discovered solely in dry forests and scrubland. On Pacific islands, they’re discovered each in these dry habitats and in addition in the rainforest. No examination has been finished to find out their habitat within the natural range.

Indian Mongoose Distribution and habitat

It has been typically accepted that the Indian gray mongoose happens in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, as represented by the distribution map.2007 examine discovered specimens additionally in Turkey, and United Arab Emirates, thus extending the recognized range.

Despite being a typical animal, the natural history of the Indian gray mongoose isn’t well-known. They seem to have the ability to occupy all kinds of habitats however preferring open sorts.

These embody grasslands, open areas, rocky patches, scrub, semi-desert, cultivated fields and different disturbed areas, areas of thickets, bushy vegetation, dry secondary forest, thorn forest, forest edges, and in addition close to human settlement.

Although the creature has been described as being much less dependent on human settlements, observations in India in closely forested areas present it to be a lot more widespread around human settlements usually scavenging on waste.

Indian Mongoose

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Indian Mongoose Characteristics

The Indian gray mongoose has tawny gray or iron gray fur, which is more grizzled and stiffer, and coarser than that of different mongooses.

The ruddiness of the coat varies in several subspecies, however, it’s described as showing more gray than different mongooses. The grizzled look comes from the person’s hairs being ringed by creamy-white and black.

The legs are brown and darker than the body. The hair across the muzzle and eyes can be brown however with a stronger rusty red coloring. The tail is bushy, while the tip of the tail if colored, is pale yellow or white.

Their tail size equals their body size. Body size: 36–45 cm (14-17 inches) Tail size: 45 cm (17 inches), weight: 0.9-1.7 kg (2-Four lb). Males are considerably bigger than females. Indian gray mongooses are uncommon in that they’ll discriminate 4 colors, more than most different mammals.

Physical Description

The Indian Mongoose shares the standard traits of mongooses, however, is small. They have a pointed head, a long tail, and thick hair besides on their decrease legs. Their fur coat can stand on end, which makes the animal seem twice as massive when it combats such enemies as toxic reptiles.

Indian Mongoose Behavior

Small Indian mongooses are fully diurnal animals. In captivity, adults participate in lots of kinds of play and video games of curiosity. Mutual grooming has been noticed between captive people of both sexes, however solely between mom and offspring in wild people.

Though that is often described as a solitary species, males have been discovered to kind social teams and even to share burrows, a minimum of in the course of the breeding season.

Behavior that promotes both body warming or cooling has been described by Baldwin. Warming is finished within the early hours by exposing as a lot as possible of the ventral floor to the solar.

In scorching sunlight, they often stop to be lively before panting. When it becomes too scorching they search out the shade and a cool floor on which to lie on their stomachs. If a cool floor isn’t obtainable, they generally scratch away the nice and cozy floor soil before mendacity down.

The Indian gray mongoose is omnivorous, although most of its diet is made up from reside prey it catches from being an opportunistic hunter, with mice, rats, lizards, snakes, and beetles making up the majority.

Also eaten are ground birds, their eggs, grasshoppers, scorpions, centipedes, frogs, crabs, fish, and elements of crops: fruits, berries, and roots, in addition to bigger prey together with hares and egrets. It kills prey by delivering a chew to the neck or head.

This species is thought for its means to fight venomous snakes. It primarily achieves this by way of tiring the snake out, by attractive it to make a number of strikes which it acrobatically avoids.

Secondary safety in opposition to the venomous chew consists of the stiff inflexible hair, which is worked up at such instances, the thick free pores and skin and specialized acetylcholine receptors render it resistant or resistant to snake venom.

When coping with scorpions, no measures are taken to disable the sting, and they are picked up in any method.

The Indian gray mongoose sometimes opens eggs by holding them between the paws and biting a gap within the little end. Smaller mongooses sometimes open eggs by throwing them between their legs in opposition to a tough object, so it has been speculated, that the adult Indian gray mongoose ought to do likewise with massive eggs.

The Indian gray mongoose mates between March and October, it breeding two to 3 instances every year. The gestation interval lasts for 60 to 65 days, the feminine offers delivery to 2 to 4 offspring.

The lifespan of the Indian gray mongoose is seven years within the wild, or 12 years, when in captivity.

Indian Mongoose

Indian Mongoose Food Habits

Several massive area research has revealed the small Indian mongoose to be primarily an insectivore, although it additionally feeds opportunistically on small vertebrates.

An early area examination of the quantity and sort of meals eaten by a mongoose was finished on the small Indian mongoose on the island of Trinidad. In this study, the character of their foodstuffs depended largely on the alternatives obtainable.

An examination of the stomachs of 180 people revealed bugs, spiders, snails, slugs, frogs, lizards, snakes, birds, eggs of birds and reptiles, every kind of rodents, crabs, fish, and fruits.

Members of this species have additionally been recognized to catch mammals many instances their size, as much as the size of hares and even the younger of white-tailed deer.

Small Indian mongooses, like many different mongoose species, are well-known for his or her killing methods, specific in terms of venomous snakes comparable to fer-de-lance and habu pit vipers, which they kill in captivity. Vertebrate prey is often killed with a chew to the back of the top.


The males of the species turn out to be sexually mature in as little as 4 months following delivery. Once the male’s testes turn out to be totally mature, they proceed to comprise spermatozoa for the remainder of the lifetime of the person.

In the Northern Hemisphere, breeding females are discovered from the end of February till early September, and within the Southern Hemisphere from August by way of February.

The length of being pregnant is 49 days. A litter sometimes consists of two younger, however as many as 5 have been recorded.

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