was surprised to see so many Mongoose on our 4x4 Safari tour of Yala national Park in southern Sri Lanka. You notice some movement in the bushes by the side of the track and out it scoots, sniffing for prey. Their dappled grey and orangey brown fur coat is excellent camouflage against the dirt of the road and undergrowth.
Yala National Park Sri Lankan Mongoose
The Ruddy Mongoose is slightly larger than the Indian Grey Mongoose and has a black tip to its tail. It is like someone has dunked it in a bottle of ink. This is the best distinguishing feature to be able to tell the difference. Some of them have very dark coats whilst others are of a lighter brown and grey color.
They hunt both in daylight as well as at night. The Indian Grey Mongoose does not have a black tip to its tail. Most have a grey fur body but others have a more sandy earthy look. This can be their natural colour but it can also be because they have been digging in the orangey red soil.
The stripe-necked Mongoose is easy enough to identify. It has black legs, grey fur body and one black stripe that runs from the bottom of its ears down to its shoulder. The Indian Brown Mongoose colour gives him away.
The Ruddy, Stripe-necked, Indian Brown and Indian Gray Mongoose of Yala
Mongoose's main diet is small insects and animals that live on or near the ground. They do eat eggs. They have a good sense of smell and sight. They are one of the few mammals that can see in colour. Watch how they use their noses to sniff out food. They will turn over rocks and dig with their claws. They are strong and fearless. They attack mice, rats and snakes. They have also been known to snack on scorpions. Some are kept as house pets to keep living quarters free from unwanted guests.