The Snake-eating Mongoose (Herpestes brachyurus parvus)

Facts about the snake-eating mammals – the mongoose.

Snakes appear to be immune to predation by other animals as they would either bite their prey with their venomous fangs or crush them by constriction. However, there are a group of animals that can outwit them and even prey on them. These snake predators are the mongoose.

One of these mongooses can be found in the island of Palawan in the Philippines. It is called the short-tailed mongoose or water mongoose because it lives near the water.

Morphological Characteristics

The water mongoose is roughly two feet in length with its tail about a third of its body. It looks like a cross between a dog and a rat. Like other mammals, it has five toes on each foot and the palms are generally naked. The one in the picture is found in Sumatra and is white. The Palawan species is yellowish red mixed with black on its upperparts. The underparts is reddish brown.

Biology and Habitat

The water mongoose is known to prey mainly on fish and crustaceans. Of course, it also feeds on snakes. It is semi-aquatic, meaning, it is adapted for living or growing in or near water but not entirely aquatic since its main food can be found in the aquatic environment.

A mongoose successfully bites a cobra.


In the Philippines, mongooses are found only on mainland Palawan and the northern islands of Palawan known as the Calamianes.


Mongoose are nowadays rarely seen and are endemic to places where they are found. Thus, these animals’ population may be threatened.

Related Articles

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© 5 October 2009 The Snake-eating Mongoose (Herpestes brachyurus parvus)

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11 Responses to “The Snake-eating Mongoose (Herpestes brachyurus parvus)”
  1. Aleena Says...

    On October 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Really interesting article, I’d heard about the mongoose before but I actually had no idea what it really was. Never would have imagined it would feed on snakes!

  2. overwings Says...

    On October 6, 2009 at 5:49 am

    Only in the zoo I’ve seen mongooses. Around here some eagles are the ones specialised in hunting snakes.

  3. martinpm Says...

    On October 8, 2009 at 1:59 am

    nice article!!!

  4. Patrick Regoniel Says...

    On October 8, 2009 at 4:33 am

    Thanks Martin.

  5. Judy Sheldon Says...

    On October 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Patrick, I had heard about the mongoose. Thanks for the further enlightenment and the pictures. It cleared up the questions I had.

  6. Moses Ingram Says...

    On October 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Great article, I too have heard of the Mongoose.

  7. Teves Says...

    On October 19, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Good article….

  8. Roxxien218 Says...

    On October 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    We just got finished Rikki-Tikki Tavi, Mongooses are some wild ass things, I swear but their very freindly. Every time I think of one I think of a dual between a cobra and a Mongoose with Welcome Home by Coheed and Cambria playing in the background. KICK ASS!

  9. Nina Says...

    On October 24, 2009 at 5:06 am

    I have seen quite a few Mongooses, in our back garden in India, catching snakes. These can be seen quite regularly there. They look like giant rats and appear quite friendly. One of our pet rabbits was also eaten up by a Mongoose, which was really sad, as we were all attached to the rabbit.

  10. Patrick Regoniel Says...

    On October 24, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Thanks everyone. Indeed mongooses are remarkable animals. It was sad it victimized Nina’s pet rabbit. It’s good mongooses are friendly unlike snakes.

  11. lillyrose Says...

    On November 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Wow, can’t say I am surprised, they come come the same family as the ferret? ferrets are great killers!

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