You may know that mongooses hunt and eat a variety of prey, but they seem rather small and harmless themselves. Surely, you think, there must be times when they are on the opposite side of the hunt. So you’re wondering, what animals eat mongooses? Read on to find out more!
What You'll Learn Today
What Animals Hunt Mongooses?
Mongooses are known for hunting many different animals. They are fierce little predators who will eat just about anything they can kill.
But do they ever become the hunted ones? Are there any animals that prey on mongooses?
Most predators tend to leave mongooses alone because the little mammals don’t go down without a fight. They will use their claws to scratch at attacking predators and their sharp teeth to bite down on paws, snouts, tails, and anything else they can sink their teeth into.
That said, mongooses are not apex predators; though they themselves hunt other animals, they are not at the top of the food chain. They do occasionally become the prey instead of the predators.
Mongoose pups are most at risk of being hunted by other animals because they are small, weak, and inexperienced. Though their parents tend to be highly protective and fight furiously to protect their young, any pups that get separated from the group can easily be killed.
Sometimes mongooses become the hunted if they are competing with larger predators for the same prey. Injured and sick mongooses are also more at risk for being hunted because they may not be able to escape or fight back.
Though they are rarely hunted since they are fierce predators themselves, they may occasionally be targeted by larger predators during food shortages.
Some of the predators most likely to hunt mongooses include:
- Jackals: These wild dogs are quite a bit larger than mongooses, and they tend to hunt in pairs, increasing their chances of securing a kill. Though they typically scavenge for their food, they will hunt mongooses because they often live in the same territories and consider the smaller predators to be relatively easy to hunt.
- Hawks and eagles: Birds of prey are a mongoose’s most well-known enemy. Large birds such as hawks and eagles hunt by sneaking up on mongooses, swooping down, lifting them into the air, and crushing them before they can put up a fight.
- Marabou stork: this ugly bird is one of the largest birds of flight in the world. It is known for sometimes hunting mongooses, and though it usually sticks to snatching unattended pups, it will sometimes hunt adults as well.
Again, though, most predators stay away from mongooses because they are difficult to hunt. They are quick and can often outrun larger predators, and they will fight back if they get caught.
What Animals Eat Mongooses?
As you might imagine, predators don’t simply hunt mongooses for the sake of hunting them. Any animal that hunts mongooses will also eat them.
In addition to the predators listed above, some other animals may eat mongooses if they kill them in a fight or come across their dead carcasses.
For example, cobras are usually hunted by mongooses, but if a cobra and a mongoose get into a fight and the snake manages to successfully kill the mongoose, it can eat it. Cobras can grow up to 20 feet long; this is much larger than even the largest species of mongooses, so their size alone gives cobras a fighting chance in such a battle.
A number of animals that eat carrion will eat mongooses that have been killed by other animals or have died of other causes. Some of these animals include vultures, hyenas, and coyotes.
As noted above, various animals may eat pups or injured mongooses as well because they are less of a challenge. In the animal world, predators often take what they can get, and an easy meal is an easy meal regardless of the animal.
Who Are Mongooses Most Afraid Of?
Mongooses are generally fearless creatures who will eat anything they can kill. They are known for having no fear because of their tendency to go up against cobras.
But there’s a good reason for this particular brand of fearlessness. Mongooses don’t have to be afraid of cobras because of a neurotransmitter in their brains called acetylcholine, which prevents them from sustaining physical harm from snake venom.
Mongooses are, of course, not completely invulnerable to all predators, so is there anyone or anything that they are afraid of?
Generally speaking, mongooses are afraid of animals that are larger than them, though they will fight just about anything encroaching on their territory or threatening their young. Mongooses usually try to avoid larger animals though, and they will not pick fights with them without cause.
Mongooses are often afraid of humans because we are larger and impossible for them to hunt. They will fight with humans as they will fight with other large animals if the humans threaten them or their babies, but they try to avoid encounters with humans as much as possible.
Mongooses also seem to be afraid of birds of prey because they can’t do much to protect themselves against them. The birds are able to swoop down without warning and crush mongooses with their talons; the mongooses rarely know ahead of time when an attack is coming and can’t do anything to fight back once the attack has been made.
How Fast Can a Mongoose Run?
Mongooses are rarely eaten by other animals because they are so fast. But just how fast can they run?
Mongooses can reach top speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, which is extremely fast for animals of their size.
Of course, mongooses won’t run that fast if they aren’t in any real danger. Check out this video of a family of mongooses going for a casual run.
Mongooses are occasionally hunted by predators such as eagles, jackals, and storks. Though most other predators leave them alone, sometimes unattended pups or injured adults may be hunted and killed.