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Ruddy Mongoose
Ruddy mongoose from South India
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Herpestidae
Subfamily: Herpestinae
Genus: Herpestes
Species: H. smithii
Binomial name
Herpestes smithii
Gray, 1837

The Ruddy Mongoose (Herpestes smithii) is a species of mongoose found in hill forests of peninsular India and Sri Lanka. This mongoose along with the Striped-necked Mongoose are the is the only endemic mongoose to India and Sri Lanka.

The ruddy mongoose is a 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 sub-species of this mongoose, H. smithii smithii in India, and H. smithii zeylanicus (Thomas, 1852) in Sri Lanka[1][2].

A Ruddy Mongoose in Panna Tiger Reserve, India

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

In Culture

In Sri Lanka this animal is called Hotambuwa by the Sinhala speaking community. 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. ^ Choudhury, A., Wozencraft, C., Muddapa, D. & Yonzon, P. 2008. Herpestes smithii. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <>. Downloaded on 27 January 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^ ISBN 019562169-7 The Book of Indian Animals, SH Prater, 3rd ed


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