Egyptian mongoose

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Egyptian mongoose_table_infobox_0

Egyptian mongoose

Temporal range: Pleistocene–Present PreꞒ O S D C P T J K Pg N

Egyptian mongoose_header_cell_0_0_0

Conservation statusEgyptian mongoose_header_cell_0_1_0
Scientific classification HerpestesEgyptian mongoose_header_cell_0_2_0
Kingdom:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_3_0 AnimaliaEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_3_1
Phylum:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_4_0 ChordataEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_4_1
Class:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_5_0 MammaliaEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_5_1
Order:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_6_0 CarnivoraEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_6_1
Suborder:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_7_0 FeliformiaEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_7_1
Family:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_8_0 HerpestidaeEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_8_1
Genus:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_9_0 HerpestesEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_9_1
Species:Egyptian mongoose_cell_0_10_0 H. ichneumonEgyptian mongoose_cell_0_10_1
Binomial nameEgyptian mongoose_header_cell_0_11_0
SynonymsEgyptian mongoose_header_cell_0_12_0

The Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), also known as ichneumon, is a mongoose species native to the Iberian Peninsula, coastal regions along the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Turkey, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands in Africa. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_0

Because of its widespread occurrence, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_1

Characteristics Egyptian mongoose_section_0

The Egyptian mongoose's long, coarse fur is grey to reddish brown and ticked with brown and yellow flecks. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_2

Its snout is pointed, its ears are small. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_3

Its slender body is 48–60 cm (1 ft 7 in–2 ft 0 in) long with a 33–54 cm (1 ft 1 in–1 ft 9 in) long black tipped tail. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_4

Its hind feet and a small area around the eyes are furless. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_5

It has 35–40 teeth, with highly developed carnassials, used for shearing meat. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_6

It weighs 1.7–4 kg (3.7–8.8 lb). Egyptian mongoose_sentence_7

Sexually dimorphic Egyptian mongooses were observed in Portugal, where some females are smaller than males. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_8

Distribution and habitat Egyptian mongoose_section_1

The Egyptian mongoose lives in swampy and marshy habitats near streams, rivers, lakes and in coastal areas. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_9

Where it inhabits maquis shrubland in the Iberian Peninsula, it prefers areas close to rivers with dense vegetation. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_10

It does not occur in deserts. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_11

It has been recorded in Portugal from north of the Douro River to the south, and in Spain from the central plateau, Andalucía to the Strait of Gibraltar. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_12

In North Africa, it occurs along the coast from Western Sahara to Tunisia, and from northern Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_13

In Egypt, one individual was observed in Faiyum Oasis in 1993. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_14

In the same year, its tracks were recorded in sand dunes close to the coast near Sidi Barrani. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_15

An individual was observed on an island in Lake Burullus in the Nile Delta during an ecological survey in the late 1990s. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_16

In the Palestinian territories, it was recorded in the Gaza Strip and Jericho Governorate in the West Bank during surveys carried out between 2012 and 2016. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_17

In western Syria, it was observed in the Latakia Governorate between 1989 and 1995; taxidermied specimens were offered in local shops. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_18

In southern Turkey, it was recorded in the Hatay and Adana Provinces. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_19

In Sudan, it is present in the vicinity of human settlements along the Rahad River and in Dinder National Park. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_20

It was also recorded in the Dinder–Alatash protected area complex during surveys between 2015 and 2018. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_21

In Ethiopia, the Egyptian mongoose was recorded at altitudes of 2,000–3,000 metres (6,600–9,800 ft) in the Ethiopian Highlands. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_22

In Senegal, it was observed in 2000 in Niokolo-Koba National Park, which mainly encompasses open habitat dominated by grasses. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_23

In Guinea’s National Park of Upper Niger, the occurrence of the Egyptian mongoose was first documented during surveys in spring 1997. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_24

Surveyors found dead individuals on bushmeat markets in villages located in the vicinity of the park. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_25

In Gabon’s Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, it was recorded only in savanna habitats. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_26

In the Republic of Congo, it was repeatedly observed in the Western Congolian forest–savanna mosaic of Odzala-Kokoua National Park during surveys in 2007. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_27

In the 1990s, it was considered a common species in Tanzania's Mkomazi National Park. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_28

Occurrence in Iberian Peninsula Egyptian mongoose_section_2

Several hypotheses were proposed to explain the occurrence of the Egyptian mongoose in the Iberian Peninsula: Egyptian mongoose_sentence_29

Egyptian mongoose_unordered_list_0

  • TraditionalIy, it was thought to have been introduced following the Muslim invasion in the 8th century.Egyptian mongoose_item_0_0
  • Bones of Egyptian mongoose excavated in Spain and Portugal were radiocarbon dated to the first century. The scientists therefore suggested an introduction during the Roman Hispania era and use for eliminating rats and mice in domestic areas.Egyptian mongoose_item_0_1
  • Other authors proposed a natural colonisation of the Iberian Peninsula during the Pleistocene across a land bridge when sea levels were low between glacial and interglacial periods. This population would have remained isolated from populations in Africa after the last Ice Age.Egyptian mongoose_item_0_2

Behaviour and ecology Egyptian mongoose_section_3

The Egyptian mongoose is diurnal. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_30

In Doñana National Park, single Egyptian mongooses, pairs and groups of up to five individuals were observed. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_31

Adult males showed territorial behaviour, and shared their home ranges with one or several females. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_32

The home ranges of adult females overlapped to some degree, except in core areas where they raised their offspring. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_33

It preys on rodents, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_34

It also feeds on fruit and eggs. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_35

To crack eggs open, it throws them between its legs against a rock or wall. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_36

In Doñana National Park, 30 Egyptian mongooses were radio-tracked in 1985 and their faeces collected. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_37

These samples contained remains of European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), sand lizards (Psammodromus), Iberian spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes), greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula), three-toed skink (Chalcides chalcides), dabbling ducks (Anas), western cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), wild boar (Sus scrofa) meat, Algerian mouse (Mus spretus) and rat species (Rattus). Egyptian mongoose_sentence_38

Research in southeastern Nigeria revealed that it also feeds on giant pouched rats (Cricetomys), Temminck's mouse (Mus musculoides), Tullberg's soft-furred mouse (Praomys tulbergi), Nigerian shrew (Crocidura nigeriae), Hallowell's toad (Amietophrynus maculatus), African brown water snake (Afronatrix anoscopus), and Mabuya skinks. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_39

It attacks and feeds on venomous snakes, and is resistant to the venom of Palestine viper (Daboia palaestinae), black desert cobra (Walterinnesia aegyptia) and black-necked spitting cobra (Naja nigricollis). Egyptian mongoose_sentence_40

In Spain, it has been recorded less frequently in areas where the Iberian lynx was reintroduced. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_41

Reproduction Egyptian mongoose_section_4

Captive males and females reach sexual maturity at the age of two years. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_42

In Doñana National Park, courtship and mating happens in spring between February and June. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_43

Two to three pups are born between mid April and mid August after a gestation of 11 weeks. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_44

They are hairless at first, and open their eyes after about a week. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_45

Females take care of them for up to one year, occasionally also longer. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_46

They start foraging on their own at the age of four months, but compete for food brought back to them after that age. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_47

In the wild, Egyptian mongooses probably reach 12 years of age. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_48

A captive Egyptian mongoose was over 20 years old. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_49

Its generation length is 7.5 years. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_50

Taxonomy Egyptian mongoose_section_5

In 1758, Carl Linnaeus described an Egyptian mongoose from the area of the Nile River in Egypt in his work Systema Naturae and gave it the scientific name Viverra ichneumon. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_51

H. i. ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) is the nominate subspecies. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_52

The following zoological specimen were described between the late 18th century and the early 1930s as subspecies: Egyptian mongoose_sentence_53

Egyptian mongoose_unordered_list_1

In 1811, Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger subsumed the ichneumon to the genus Herpestes. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_54

Threats Egyptian mongoose_section_6

A survey of poaching methods in Israel carried out in autumn 2000 revealed that the Egyptian mongoose is affected by snaring in agricultural areas. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_55

Most of the traps found were set up by Thai guest workers. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_56

Numerous dried heads of Egyptian mongooses were found in 2007 at the Dantokpa Market in southern Benin, suggesting that it is used as fetish in animal rituals. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_57

Conservation Egyptian mongoose_section_7

The Egyptian mongoose is listed on Appendix III of the Berne Convention, and Annex V of the European Union Habitats and Species Directive. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_58

In Israel, wildlife is protected by law, and hunting allowed only with a permit. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_59

Cultural references Egyptian mongoose_section_8

Mummified remains of four Egyptian mongooses were excavated in the catacombs of Anubis at Saqqara during works started in 2009. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_60

At the cemetery of Beni Hasan, an Egyptian mongoose on a leash is depicted in the tomb of Baqet I dating to the Eleventh Dynasty of Egypt. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_61

The American poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem as an elegy for an ichneumon, which had been brought to Haverhill Academy in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1830. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_62

The long lost poem was published in the November 20, 1902, issue of "The Independent" Magazine. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_63

In Christopher Smart's poem, Jubilate Agno, the poet's cat Jeoffry was praised in line 63: "For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land," for a purported attack on an Egyptian mongoose. Egyptian mongoose_sentence_64

See also Egyptian mongoose_section_9

Egyptian mongoose_unordered_list_2

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: mongoose.