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Photographer's Note

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is a short story in The Jungle Book (1894) by Rudyard Kipling about the adventures of a valiant young mongoose.
The young mongoose, named Rikki-Tikki by its new owner, soon finds himself confronted by two dangerous, murderous cobras. After that first encounter with the cobras, Rikki's first true battle is with a dust brown snakeling who threatens the poor boy (Teddy). Although Rikki is inexperienced and the snake, because of its deadly venom and small size, is an even more dangerous foe than a cobra, the mongoose defeats him.

The Indian mongooses are popularly used to fight and kill venomous snakes. They can do this because of their agility and cunning, and their thick coat. They typically avoid the cobra and have no particular affinity for consuming its meat.
Some species can learn simple tricks. They can be domesticated and are kept as pets to control vermin. Mongooses are a common spectacle at roadside shows. Snake charmers keep them for mock fights with snakes.
Meerkats are in the same family.

It was for me a pleasure to see this wild mongoose in the Lodi gardens in Delhi. The scattered feathers indicate that they eat not only snakes.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12267 W: 130 N: 31454] (145819)
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