One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small carnivorous mammal with a long body and tail and a grizzled or banded coat, native to Africa and Asia.
Family Herpestidae (or Viverridae): several genera, in particular Herpestes and Mungos, and many species, including the banded mongoose (M. mungo)
- ‘Some others like the wild pig, the palm civet, the common mongoose, the golden oriole, and the rat snake can survive even with little green cover and withstand disturbances.’
- ‘With no other carnivores around, mongooses and civets became Madagascar's predators, and the fossa filled the hunting niche usually occupied by cats.’
- ‘We have birds and mammals here such as the slender mongoose and large spotted genets that are not rare, but it's still nice to have them in a city like Johannesburg.’
- ‘Virtually none of the small carnivorous mammals of Southeast Asia (cats, civets, mongooses, weasels) have crossed it from west to east on their own.’
- ‘Genetic testing has revealed that, regardless of appearances, the fossa is a close cousin of the mongoose, and a member of the viverrid family, which also includes meerkats, civets, and genets.’
Late 17th century: from Marathi maṅgūs.
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