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Friday, 19 April 2013

My Pet Wish List - The Mongoose

When I was young, I was always fascinated by stories about this one animal. It’s called the Mongoose or Cerpelai in BM.

The reason for that was whenever my siblings and I go out to play, my parents will warn us NEVER TO GO near the bushes or the jungle around the fields. According to my mum, there are many harmful creatures, particularly snakes in the bushes. I remember this one time when I got walloped by my mum for going into the bushes to pick a football, which I kicked too far. ( It’s ironic coz I was told that it’s the snake that will wallop me if I go into  the bushes. Mothers’ logic, Never mind! lol ).

Sights of the Civil Defence being summoned to my neighborhood to catch snakes inside homes were common. And not to discount the influence of movies showing snakes biting people (often in revenge), and how the victims die foaming at the mouth. Add up all that, snakes had been given this stigma as killers and we all fear them.

And then I heard this from my dad, that mongooses are the only creatures which can fight and kill snakes with ease. There was no Google, so dad drew on a paper and showed me how mongooses look like (seriously it was a horrible drawing that looked like a mutated rat). But it wasn’t about the drawing. It was about the bravery and the courage of the mongoose that appeared to me as an animal-superhero of sorts. I immediately admired them and wished I could keep mongoose as pet. I've seen them couple of times myself in my kampung. Unfortunately, they were just too quick to disappear before I even manage to get an autograph.

Here, let's take a look at this video and see how they fight snakes:

Cute and deadly

If you haven’t seen a mongoose, it is relatively a small mammal. Mongooses are three times smaller than snakes. They look like ferrets, weasels and meerkats. In Malaysia, some might mistake them for squirrels. But scientifically they belong to the meerkat family. The mongoose has long sleek body, short legs, with brownish grey short coat.

I mean imagine. You, standing face to face with a Cobra. The first thing you would do is to run or maybe you’re already dead by then. But the mongoose will take on the cobra in a battle equivalent to that of a Bruce Lee versus Chuck Norris duel. Mongooses are extremely fast and agile, besides being intelligent.  They’re so quick that even snakes which usually strike with unerring accuracy, will miss them. Mongooses will dodge the strikes and carefully read the opponent’s movement. And when the mongoose decides to strike, it’s usually a Knockout for the snake. One lightning speed blow to the head and the skull of the snake will be crushed.

Besides being a hell of a fighter, mongooses also have a great defense system. They have high tolerance to snake venom. Some experts say that it would take eight times the lethal dose for a rabbit, to actually kill a mongoose.

Thinking about it now, I guess for me to admire the mongoose for their qualities, bravery and courage is not strange. Mongooses were revered and deemed as sacred by various ancient civilizations. Apparently they had magical powers to ward off evil. According to Buzzle.com, they were even mummified mongooses found in the Egyptian tomb that validates this fact. There were also images of mongoose on funeral urns.

Meanwhile in 2013

Never trust your GPS device

In the modern era, Mongooses are often used in sports by boxers and fighters as nicknames. Well for obvious reasons right. One legendary boxer who went by the moniker “The Old Mongoose” was the late Archie Moore.

Nicknames carried by boxers are supposed to evoke a subconscious thought/ inner strength of masculine toughness and fighting spirit. While choosing this nickname was initially seen as peculiar and laughed at by many of his rivals and boxing fans, Moore went on to hold the record for the most career knockouts by any boxer.131 T-K-O. He is ranked 4th as the greatest puncher of all time in a list of 100. Well, I’m not surprised. He lived up to his name, "The Old Mongoose". Talk about subconscious strength eh?  Today, they’re plenty of boxing gyms and boxers around the world drawing inspiration from the mongoose.

Not only that mongooses are fearless fighters, they're also highly spirited, resilient and will NEVER GIVE UP. Even under immense threat. Take a look at this video as to why ring fighters regard them highly.

Yes, that never-say-die attitude!

Now to the question, can we keep a mongoose as pet?

Mongooses are predators and as such, raising them must come with plenty of socialization. I don’t think you can simply catch a mongoose from the wild and keep it as a house pet. It’s highly NOT recommended when you’re keeping other pets like cats and dogs at home. However, if you’re raising a mongoose from young, it makes an extremely loveable pet.

 I’ve heard that some people in the villages (Malaysia) keep mongoose as pet to protect their houses from snakes. Similar to how dogs guard the house from inturders and how cats keep the rats out. (While I’ve constantly put it here that mongooses fight snakes, it doesn’t mean that snakes are vicious and evil. Snakes are just living their lives and being what they’re born to be...ie: predators ).

The Monalisa pose. This is too cute LOL
Credit: monsterfishkeepers.com 

To conclude my wish list....Although mongooses are one of those little animals that I always wanted to keep as pet since young, I will bide my time. After I've learned enough and met people who've been keeping these little furry fellas, only then I would even seriously consider to keep a mongoose. It is simply due to the huge commitment to train them and the supervision needed to raise a highly efficient 'assassin' in the house.
For now, one message it quite clear....Size doesn't matter!


  1. is cerpelai the same as musang?

    1. Musang is fox. Fox looks more like a dog. Cerpelai looks a lot smaller and looks like a big rat or squirrel. :)

  2. Cerpelai tu watak yg mcm dlm Madagascar tu ker..?? hehehe

    1. I guess you're referring to King Julien. He's a lemur. Not same with Mongoose. Lemur is a primate and found only in Madagascar and nearby islands. Tapi watak tu serius lawak. Kalo lawan ngan ular, memang ular pun tergelak. Tak jadi la nak lawan :DD