Today at Light Future Art, we’re sharing some interesting facts about mongooses (or mongeese, which is also acceptable). Some of these facts are guaranteed to surprise you!
1. Mongooses can be found across Southern Asia and Africa. There are over 30 different species of mongoose. Their closest ancestors are the civets and they share common ancestors with hyenas and big cats.
2. Despite sounding like “goose”, the name mongoose doesn’t have its origins in any English word. It most likely comes from the Magathi and Tamil word “mangus”, or “mangisu” in Telugu.
3. Banded mongooses have traditions and pass down knowledge from one generation to the next about foraging and hunting. They are the first animals outside of primates that we have observed with this behavior.
4. About 10 different types of mongoose calls have been recorded. These include barks, grunts, and clicks. Mongooses combine these different sounds together to form complex thoughts. Researchers believe that mongoose communication tends to follow a pattern made of two distinct sounds. The first is an identification of the speaker and the second is the message.
5. Mongooses are famous for their ability to fight and kill venomous snakes. They aren’t immune to venom from cobras or adders (their most common opponents), but the toxins are less effective on mongooses than on most animals their size. Mongooses can continue fighting even after being bitten.
6. Mongooses live in burrows, but they usually move into abandoned burrows dug by other animals.
7. Some mongooses live in semiaquatic habitats and are strong swimmers. One species of mongoose, the marsh mongoose, can dive for up to 15 seconds at a time.
8. Meerkats are actually mongooses! Meerkats on the mongoose family tree diverged from the rest of their relatives about 22 million years ago. They are still recognizable as mongooses by their tapered tail, round ears, and pointed snout.
9. Along with cats, mongooses were also worshipped and venerated in ancient Egypt. Mongoose mummies have been found in ancient tombs and their images painted on funerary urns.
10. Mongooses tend to be social. The plural name for a group of mongooses is a mob. Mobs can be as small as six individuals or as large as 50 or more. The mob is generally led by an alpha male and female, and protects the old and weak by bringing back food to be shared equally among everyone.
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