A group of meerkats standing guard


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

Rank: Family


Map showing the distribution of the Mongooses taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

Explore this group

BBC News about Mongooses

  • New carnivore found in Madagascar Scientists discover a new species of carnivore in Madagascar, which they say could be one of the world's most threatened mammals.