AbstractRiki-tiki-tavi, an Indian mongoose, was a hero in Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book" because he killed cobras and other poisonous snakes. Brought to West Indian islands such as St. Croix, where there are no snakes, or very few as in Puerto Rico, the mongoose, attacking the nearest local counterpart to snakes, primarily feeds on lizards. Lizards are insectivorous and considered largely beneficial. Indeed, most of the insect pests found in the stomach contents of the mongoose presumably were originally caught by lizards. The insects eaten by the mongoose are practically all Orthoptera: Grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, and cockroaches. Of other Arthropods, it eats mostly large spiders or tarantulas, and centipedes.
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