Mongooses are a family of small carnivores containing about 35 species, including the meerkat. Not only are mongooses rampant in Africa, they are also to be found in Asia and southern Europe. Some species live a solitary life while others live in packs and colonies, looking out for each other. Their speed and agility in attacking and killing poisonous snakes is legendary, with these battles often becoming roadside spectacles. Introduced into some places to control snakes and rodents, more often than not they become a worse problem themselves.
Scientific name: Herpestidae
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
Mongooses are 33 living species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa of the family Herpestidae. Four additional species from Madagascar in the subfamily Galidiinae, which were previously classified in this family, are also referred to as "mongooses" or "mongoose-like". Genetic evidence indicates the Galidiinae are more closely related to other Madagascar carnivorans in the family Eupleridae, which is the closest living group to the true mongooses.
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