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Do Mongooses Make Good Pets?

Nicole Cosgrove

If you’re interested in exotic pets, it’s not a far stretch to wonder if a mongoose would make a good pet. While we certainly don’t endorse keeping these animals as pets, you can if you do your research and take the necessary time and care to raise them.

But the truth is that a pet mongoose presents a whole host of challenges compared to more traditional pets. So, while you can keep a mongoose as a pet, you better be prepared. We highlight everything that you need to know here.

divider-ferretAre Mongooses Friendly to Humans?

When it comes to determining if a pet mongoose is friendly to humans, you can get a ton of mixed opinions. While wild mongooses are undoubtedly hostile toward humans, plenty of pet owners claim that they’ve “domesticated” their mongoose and they’re no longer aggressive.

While we understand that a hand-raised mongoose can be friendly toward their owners, they will never be friendly toward other animals in the home. Moreover, while they will likely be friendly toward other humans, this is far from guaranteed.

mongoose
Image Credit: Pixabay

Is It Legal to Own a Mongoose in the United States?

While there are few sites out there that tell you that it’s illegal to own a mongoose in the United States, for the most part, that’s not true. A few specific mongoose species are illegal to import into the United States, but there are plenty more that are completely legal to own.

However, the big caveat to that is the law can vary from state to state. So, while it’s legal to own a mongoose in Pennsylvania, if you head down to Alabama, you’re breaking the law. Meanwhile, other states like Virginia simply require that you register the animal and obtain a permit.

Before purchasing a mongoose, check out all the local and state laws regarding mongoose ownership in your specific state and municipality.

Perks of Owning a Mongoose

If you raise your mongoose right, you’re not just getting a pet, you’re getting an adorable pet. They can provide you with all the same companionship benefits as a traditional pet, which is certainly good for you.

Moreover, despite their small size, the mongoose acts as an excellent guard pet because they attack other animals on sight. They might be small, but they fight with tenacity and have even taken down king cobras!

Mongooses side view
Image Credit: Pixabay

Concerns of Owning a Mongoose

There are significant concerns when it comes to owning a mongoose. For starters, as a part of the weasel family tree, the mongoose is known to be a bit dangerous to own. While you can mitigate this by raising them right after birth, this never completely stamps out their wild instincts.

Furthermore, there are plenty of health concerns that come with owning a mongoose. Chief among them is leptospirosis. This is an extremely uncomfortable condition that can require medical treatment in certain circumstances.

Another concern is their smell. Mongooses naturally emit an unpleasant odor to keep other animals away. While this isn’t a big deal in the wild, this can be an unpleasant side effect if the mongoose is in your home.

That said, none of these concerns address the difficulty of meeting a mongoose’s needs while caring for them. In the wild, the mongoose is extremely active, so they’ll need a ton of exercise while in captivity.

They also have strict dietary needs, and they prefer to hunt for their food. While you likely can’t let them hunt for food in your home, you will still need to provide a diverse diet that meets all their needs.

Properly caring for a mongoose isn’t easy, and if they do get out, they can wreak havoc on the local ecosystem. In Puerto Rico, mongooses are responsible for $50 million in damages every year, so just a single mongoose in your area can be a nightmare.

divider-ferretFinal Thoughts

While a mongoose might be a cute animal to look at while you’re at the zoo, the truth is that caring for a mongoose isn’t easy or for the faint of heart.

While we don’t endorse keeping these animals as pets, if you decide that a mongoose is right for your home, ensure that you take plenty of time to research their care requirements so you can do everything possible to care for them properly.

Finally, keep in mind that they can live for up to 20 years and don’t do well around other pets, so you’re limiting yourself to a single mongoose home for quite a while.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.