The ruddy mongoose (Herpestes smithii) is a mongoose species native to hill forests in India and Sri Lanka.[1] This mongoose, along with the striped-neck and Indian grey mongeese, are the only mongoose species endemic to India and Sri Lanka. The ruddy mongoose is very closely related to Indian grey mongoose, but distinguished by its slightly larger size and black-tipped tail extending for 2 to 3 inches at the distal end. There are two subspecies of this mongoose, H. smithii smithii in India, and H. smithii zeylanicus (Thomas, 1852) in Sri Lanka.[2]

Ruddy mongoose
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Herpestidae
Genus: Herpestes
H. smithii
Binomial name
Herpestes smithii
Gray, 1837
Ruddy Mongoos area.png
Ruddy mongoose range


The ruddy mongoose is mainly a forest-living animal, in contrast to the grey and small Indian mongooses and prefers more secluded areas. They have also been recorded from secluded paddy fields and in comparatively open fields.[3]


Herpestes smithii was the scientific name proposed by John Edward Gray in 1837 for a zoological specimen in the collection of the British Museum Natural History.[4]

Subspecies:[citation needed]

  • H. s. smithii
  • H. s. thysanurus
  • H. s. zeylanius


Like other mongooses, it hunts by day and by night.[3]

In cultureEdit

In Sri Lanka this animal is called mugatiya by the Sinhala speaking community and is usually regarded as an unlikable animal and a pest. The golden palm civet (Paradoxurus zeylonensis), altogether a different species endemic to Sri Lanka, is also called hotambuwa due to similar appearance and coloration.


  1. ^ a b Mudappa, D. & Choudhury, A. (2016). "Herpestes smithii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T41617A45208195.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b The Book of Indian Animals, SH Prater, 3rd ed., ISBN 019562169-7
  4. ^ Gray, J. E. (1837). "Description of some or little known Mammalia, principally in the British Mueum Collection". The Magazine of Natural History and Journal of Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology and Meteorology. I (November): 577–587.

External linksEdit