WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Herpestes Ichneumon- strange animal.

Should I call him " Rikki Tikki Tavi" !!!
 Rudyard did!!!!  And he was a very clever Mongoose indeed.

  There are 14 genera and 33 species of Mongoose -"Sacarabos"- Mangusto, Manguço ou escalavado.
 Africa, Asia, Japan. -

After seeing the strange elongated animal in front of me this last Monday.   I just had to find out  what type of animal  it was.
I thought it was a Ferret.. but its not- They are not related.

Here in our region, they are called "Saca Rabos"  -    Herpestes Ichneumon -  Egyptian Mongoose.
Saco Rabos , were probably introduced into the Iberian peninsula by the Arabs.

Its know to be a great snake "cobra" killer .. They tend to stay in groups .
It is a carnivor-browny-grey in color.
It's body 48-60cm long, and tail 33-54cm.  It weighs 1.7-4kilos.

The Egyptian Mongoose, can be found in-Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Israel and most sub-Saharan Africa.
Democratic Republic of Congo- Western south Africa and Namibia.
It has been introduced to Madagascar and Italy.

 In Egyptian mythology, Ra would metamorphose into a giant Ichneumon   - ("over 24 meteres") to fight the evil god snake Apopis.
Ichneumon worship has been attested in several cities:- Heliopolis, Buto,Sais, Athribis , and some others.
                                                                       STANDING HERPESTES.
                                    Ichneumon, with uraeus and solar disc.    Bronze, Ptolemaic era..(egyptian representation).....

Mongoose are immune to snake venom.

The Egyptian mongoose "saca rabos" - has a slender body, pointed snout and small ears. It has 35 to 40 teeth, with highly developed carnassials used for shearing meat.

Their tails have black tips and hind feet and small areas around eyes are furless.
It prefers to live in forests , savanna, or scrub, but never far from water.

(plenty of small dams around here)-  I myself have one at the bottom of the land.
I know now why the dogs , sometimes go mad and run off into the long grass sniffing away. could be a saco rabo.
We do have a few wild animals that come out at night.. others during the day.

                                           The above map shows  where the Egyptian Mongoose live.  Taken to Iberia(the red on the map)  when the Moors invaded  the Iberian peninsula.

In some rural areas of Egypt , such as upper Egypt, it is bred as a house hold pet. They keep rodents away.

 The 14 genera live in the areas filled in with blue.  

I do hope that you enjoyed my post!    Many of you gave me names that I knew.  Thank you for all your comments.
    I some how knew that it wasn't a ferret- but had to find out.

On my way driving back from Lisbon this morning.  My Grandaughter Maria.. told me their name.

(All the information that I have written, is with courtesey of Wikipedia.)

Reading about these animals has been fascinating.

I remember the Mongoose we had around us in the bush in S.A.. They have black stripes on their back.



  1. oh, glad you were able to identify it for sure!

  2. Wow, a mongoose, and I have never seen one of those either. Thank you Val for all the interesting information, especially about being immune to snake venom. I wonder if they are the only animal like that. Enjoyed your post, especially with the maps, Val. xoxo

  3. That sure is a strange looking animal but at least now you know what it is. Thanks for sharing your research. It's always nice to learn more about something interesting like this guy. Enjoy your week! Hugs, Diane

  4. Thanks Val that is really interesting to learn about, and very satisfying for you to discover all about the creature that is living in your community. The only thing that I remember about Mongooses is that they like eggs, and are good at managing to crack them open to suck the egg out.

  5. OMG! A mongoose! How lucky to see such a treasure, Val!...:)JP

  6. Dear Val, I don't remember if ever you told us that you have snakes on your property. If so, that is possibly why the mongoose has made its home on your land. I
    I've only seen these creatures watching National Geographic on television. How exciting to have them in your backyard. Are they aggressive and do you have to worry about your animals?

  7. Oh my! What a surprise that must have been. Some day I want to hear about your time in South Africa. I think you've had many adventures!

  8. I have never seen a mongoose. Thanks for the report. I mentioned in an earlier comment that I would share info about how to publish a blog post on iPad. You download the Blogger app for iPad just go to Blogger to find it. It's very easy to post. Just type, upload pix and you're done. It's not my preferred way but is handy at times. I've found you must have any pix already stored; can't upload from elsewhere (at least I can't). Hope this is helpful.

  9. How interesting! That's not a creature I've ever encountered - and that's alright!

  10. Fascinating post, Val. How useful to know there's a mongoose around.after the time you saw a snake in your garden. :-)

  11. Val,
    This is a strange looking animal, indeed. I think what makes it so peculiar is that the area around their eyes are furless. When my mom went to Egypt, I wonder if she came across one of these haha.

    Have a wonderful week, Val.



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