A mongoose is an extremely tiny terrestrial carnivore belonging to the family Herpestidae. With a body length of only one inch, a mongoose has a very limited range, due to its restricted range in North America and Africa. This group is split into two major subgroups, the Mungotinae, and the Serpentine.
Civet cats are almost completely unrelated to mongooses, being considered ashy and small felines. Civets are considered ashy because of their low temperature and dense fur, unlike the mongoose which has very thick, warm fur and a hot, sunburn-like surface temperature.
The only major difference between the two felines is that the former has pinkish colored eyes, which are larger than its head, while the latter has black ears. Also, both types of this cat are highly capable hunters, capable of preying on a variety of prey, and are known to have strong predatory instincts.
Because of their small size, a mongoose requires a large amount of food to sustain its existence. Domesticated animals like rats and mice provide good meals for the mongoose, but because they are not very active and do not eat much, these animals are unsuitable for breeding purposes.
To breed a larger number of miniature animals, a group of closely related male and female animals, such as the mongoose and grey squirrels were crossed in captivity. These animals, collectively known as the mongoose-grasshoppers, gave birth to healthy baby animals, which weighed up to twenty pounds each.
Today, there are approximately fourteen different species of this animal, all of which inhabit different parts of Central and South America.
One of the most distinctive features of the mongoose-hare, aside from its large body size, is that it is the only mammal among its genus in which the eyes stand erect. The remaining eye organs of other species are sclera-like, which allow for increased sight range.
One of the smallest amongst mammals, the average adult height of a mongoose stands at less than four feet. A fully-grown individual weighs between twelve and fifteen pounds. Because the larger species weigh more, they tend to be weaker and are less capable of running than the smaller ones.
Unlike other rodents, which create burrows under the soil for shelter, the modern-day mongoose species make elaborate burrows under a dense cover of leaves and brush. Their homes, called maternity dens, are located high in the trees or shrubs.
Maternal housing may consist of a box or a bush built high into the trees or shrubs, in which the mother carries up her young. In captivity, mother mongooses give live birth to up to nine babies, before they can leave the litter.
There are currently no known predators of the common mongoose, although there have been some cases of bears, cats, and hyenas being preyed upon by the species. It is important to note that although the species is vulnerable to poaching, it is still considered to be one of the best-kept secrets in the animal world, with only the remotest population of mongooses known to be threatened.
As with all creatures, human activity has had a profound effect on the numbers of many species, including the mongoose. Many different techniques are employed by the species in their search for food such as stalking, courting, eating the feces of others, and eating the fur of others.