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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2019


Javan Mongoose

Family : Herpestidae
Species : Herpestes javanicus

Head-body length : up to 42 cm
Tail length : up to 32 cm
Weight : up to 1.8 kg

The Javan Mongoose, more widely called the 'Small Asian Mongoose', is a species of diverse habitat including disturbed scrub, grassland, plantations, agricultural areas and rice paddies. It appears to be uncommon in tall, primary rainforest. It has been recorded at elevations of up to 1200 metres.

The type locality for the species is the island of Java, Indonesia, where its typical fur colour appears to be reddish-brown : this colour also reportedly occurs in Laos and Vietnam. In other parts of the region the fur is described as a grizzled yellowish to olive-brown.

The muzzle is pointed, the ears relatively large, and the legs short. The tail is thick at the base but tapers quickly.

This species of mongoose typically feeds on other vertebrates including frogs, reptiles and small mammals, but will also consume invertebrates such as insects. It is also able to subdue and kill cobras.

Mongooses inhabit burrows in the ground and the hollowed out bases of larger trees.

The specimen illustrated here was photographed by day at around 1000 metres elevation on the outskirts of Bandung, Java. The embankment on which the animal was active is adjacent to a small stream and wet rice paddies.

Molecular studies by Veron et al (2006) confirm that the 'Small Asian Mongoose' occurs in Vietnam and Thailand. Based on head and body measurements of other specimens, the same species also occurs in Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Bali.

Previous records in South Asia (Pakistan, India, Nepal etc.) clearly represent a separate species, the Small Indian Mongoose H. auropunctatus.

Figs 1 and 2 : Javan Mongoose on the embankment of a small stream and rice paddies near Bandung, Java, Indonesia at an elevation of around 1000 metres.

Photos thanks to Dave Welch

References : M5

Veron, G., Patou, M.-L., Pothet, G., Simberloff, D. and Jennings, A. P. (2007), Systematic status and biogeography of the Javan and small Indian mongooses (Herpestidae, Carnivora). Zoologica Scripta, 36: 110. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00261.x



Fig 1
ゥ  Dave Welch
Fig 2
ゥ  Dave Welch