The stripe-necked mongoose is the largest of the Asiatic mongooses. It has a stout body set on short legs. It is easily distinguished by the black stripe that runs laterally on both sides of its neck. The body coloration is a rusty brown to grizzled grey. The relatively short tail is mostly black, with grey at the base. The stripe-necked mongoose feeds on frogs, crabs, mouse deer, hares, rodents, fowl, and reptiles. This mongoose species is more diurnal in habits. They prefer forested areas near a fresh water source. They are often found in swamps and rice fields.
There are two subspecies. H. vitticollis vitticollis is from the provinces of Western Ghats, Coorg and Kerala, and has more of a reddish tint to its fur. The other, H. vitticollis inornatus, is found in the Kanara province, and lacks a reddish tint to its fur.
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