Herpestes Mongooses in GURPS
The mongooses of the genus Herpestes are tough, feisty, and agile little carnivores. They are most famous for their skill at killing venomous snakes, to whose venom they are partially resistant, but they are also predators of rodents, birds, fish, lizards, amphibians, and insects. Prey is killed by biting it on the neck on head. They are also known to dine on fruit and eggs. These mongooses are diurnal, and hunt in small groups consisting of a male and several related females. In many areas, these mongooses are kept as pets in order to control snakes, as well as rats and scorpions. Rudyard Kipling's character Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was a mongoose of the Herpestes genus, probably either an Indian gray or small Asian mongoose.
- The Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon or ichneumon typically masses about 2 to 4 kg. It is found along the Nile river, the Mediterranian coast of Egypt, Arabia, and Turkey, and most of sub-Saharan Africa except for the jungles of the Congo, Africa's horn, and the Namib desert. It lives in scrub, grassland, savanna, woodland, and forest, never far from water.
- The short-tailed mongoose Herpestes brachyurus typically masses about 1.5 kg. It can be found on the Malay peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra. It lives in forests and plantations near rivers.
- The Indian gray mongoose Herpestes edwardsii typically masses about 1 for females and 1.5 kg for males. It lives throughout the Indian subcontinent and along the coastline of the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf. They are known to break open eggs by throwing them backwards underneath the body and through the back legs against a rock or wall. They can be found in dry forests, thorn forests, distrubed areas, and around human habitations.
- The small Asian mongoose Herpestes javanicus typically masses about 0.45 for females and 0.65 kg for males. Its native range is from Iran to Indochina, excepting southern India, and into the Malay Peninsula and parts of Sumatra and Java. It was introduced into Hawaii, Okinawa, and the island of Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, all with disasterous results. In Hawaii and Saint Croix, the intent was to eliminate black rats and protect sugar cane plantations, but rats are nocturnal and sleep in trees during the day, while mongooses are diurnal and hunt on the ground. Instead, the mongooses have taken to preying on native wildlife. In its native range, these mongooses live in scrub and dry forests, in their introduced range they are found in rain forests as well.
- The long-nosed mongoose Herpestes naso is found in the jungles of the Congo, typically in swamps or dense tangles of vegetation. Adult mass is about 3 kg.
- The collared mongoose Herpestes semitorquatus lives on Borneo, in forests, disturbed areas, and hills.
- The ruddy mongoose Herpestes smithii is from India and Sri Lanka, where it inhabits forests, including dry forests, thorn forests, and disturbed areas. Adult mass is typically between 1.5 and 2 kg.
- The crab-eating mongoose Herpestes urva will eat crabs, but like other mongooses in the genus will also eat anything else it can catch. It ranges from Burma and Bangladesh to Indochina, south China, and Malaysia, and inhabits areas near water, including scrub, forest, plantations, rice paddies, and human settlements. Typical adult mass is between 1 and 2 kg.
- The stripe-necked mongoose Herpestes vitticollis lives in south India and Sri Lanka, in forest or scrub habitats near water. Typical adult mass is from 1.5 to 2 kg.
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