If you’ve ever seen videos of mongooses, or if they live in your area, you may know that they can survive and even thrive in a number of different environments. But where does a mongoose live exactly? Do they prefer a specific type of climate or can they truly live anywhere? What parts of the world do these furry creatures call home, and what sort of homes do they live in? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more!
What You'll Learn Today
Where Do Most Mongooses Live?
Mongooses are mostly found in Africa, where their range is widespread and diverse. Some mongooses also live in southern parts of Asia and Europe, and they have been naturalized in other parts of the world as well.
Mongooses come in several different subspecies that live nearly everywhere throughout the African continent. There is a good chance that they may have originated in Africa and spread to the other continents from there, though they are also considered native to parts of Europe and Asia.
Mongooses are highly adaptable little creatures that can live in a variety of climates. This has been made clear by the intentional spreading of mongooses to other areas of the world, where humans have introduced them mostly to help cut down on local environmental pests such as rats and insects.
Wherever they end up, mongooses spread like wildfire, growing and multiplying and eating a variety of other animals, oftentimes becoming pests themselves.
What Climate Do Mongooses Live In?
As noted above, mongooses can live in many different kinds of climates. Africa is diverse with its deserts, savannas, mountains, wetlands, and forests, and mongooses can be found living and thriving in all of these climates.
Mongooses simply adapt to whatever sort of environment they happen to find themselves in. They can tolerate a wide range of elevations and temperatures, a wide variety of flora and fauna, and will eat just about anything they can find, kill, scavenge, or steal.
What’s more, they have few natural predators in the wild, so wherever they spread, they are likely to multiply as quickly, if not more so, than they die off.
Do Mongooses Live in the United States?
Mongooses have not been introduced in the lower 48. In fact, they are banned because they can be highly destructive of the native small fauna.
Though some people breed mongooses, and others keep and sell them as pets, doing any of these activities in the United States is illegal. Bringing mongooses into the U.S. can lead to steep fines and possible jail time.
That said, mongooses can already be found in Hawaii as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where they were brought before the ban and became naturalized pests.
Which brings up another question:
Why Were Mongooses Brought to Hawaii?
According to the State of Hawaii, mongooses were originally brought from India in 1883, long before Hawaii became a state or even a U.S. territory. The sugar industry was responsible for having them introduced, as the hope was that mongooses would help cut down on rat populations in the sugar cane fields.
The problem is, rats and mice are generally nocturnal, while mongooses are diurnal. Since they are active at different times, the rat population did not take as big of a hit as people had hoped.
In fact, bringing mongooses to Hawaii proved to be a bad idea because the little carnivores spread rapidly and devoured much more than just rats. To this day, they continue to be a problem in Hawaii because they eat the eggs, young, and adults of various endangered species, including sea turtles and a variety of ground-nesting birds.
Do Mongooses Live in Burrows or Houses?
Mongooses typically live in burrows they build or find. They cluster together in large family colonies that build complex tunnels underground.
Mongooses build nests in little burrows they create which are connected by the networks of tunnels. Here they inbreed among their fellow colony mates and raise packs of young mongooses, which are known as pups.
Some species of mongoose don’t build their own burrows but instead take over the burrows of other animals. They may move into burrows of animals they’ve eaten, but most often they simply move into old abandoned burrows.
Though most mongooses live in burrows, there are some exceptions to this rule.
A few mongoose species live in trees instead of burrows. They will make their nests inside hollowed out tree trunks and branches.
In some regions, mongooses have even been known to live in abandoned termite mounds. They do not build their own houses, nor do they nest in preexisting houses other than these termite mounds.
Check out this video of some mongooses creating a burrow.
Where Do Mongooses Sleep?
Mongooses are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. They usually sleep in the dens they create in their burrows.
Those that dwell in trees will sleep in the hollowed out areas they call home, and those in termite mounds will sleep in the mounds. They prefer to sleep in these homes because they are safer (mongooses also have their enemies) than sleeping out in the open.
Most mongooses sleep as families huddled together to help keep each other warm. There is also safety in numbers, so sleeping in their dens as well as in family packs helps them to feel safe so they can sleep in peace.
Mongooses live in many different climates and regions throughout Africa, as well as parts of southern Europe and Asia. They have also been introduced in other parts of the world, where their populations expanded rapidly and allowed them to become naturalized species in these areas.
Mongooses are highly adaptable to nearly any environment and will eat nearly any food they can find, so it’s easy for them to take over an area where they are introduced, destroying the local animal populations and becoming pests themselves. For this reason, mongooses are banned from the United States.