Also called African mongoose, Egyptian mongoose. a slender, long-tailed mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, inhabiting Africa and southern Europe, and believed by the ancient Egyptians to devour crocodile eggs.
Historical Examples

Classification of the ichneumon flies, or the superfamily ichneumonoidea.
The Biotic Associations of Cockroaches Louis M. Roth

The ichneumon may be seen busily searching the bushes for her victim.
The Dawn of Reason James Weir

The ichneumon, an animal famous for destroying reptiles’ eggs, and is worshipped by the Egyptians.
The Olden Time Series, Vol. 4: Quaint and Curious Advertisements Henry M. Brooks

He was just a shade too light for nature, and the ichneumon has a pretty sense of colour.
“Wee Tim’rous Beasties” Douglas English

The caterpillar lives with the ichneumon grubs within it usually until nearly time for its pupation.
Elementary Zoology, Second Edition Vernon L. Kellogg

“Oh, that plant that the ichneumon resorts to when bitten,” exclaimed Macallan.
The King’s Own Captain Frederick Marryat

Apparently the ichneumon fly (Ophion obscurum), and not the true sawfly, is meant.
A Thin Ghost and Others M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James

After the ichneumon flies had disappeared, a new difficulty arose.
Cornell Nature-Study Leaflets Various

The little ichneumon then repeats her operations until she has darted into her victim the requisite number of eggs.
An Introduction to Entomology: Vol. I (of 4) William Kirby

This is an act of cruelty which resembles that of the ichneumon, to which it may well be compared.
Animal Parasites and Messmates P. J. Van Beneden

a mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, of Africa and S Europe, having greyish-brown speckled fur

1570s, originally a weasel-like animal in Egypt, Latinized from Greek ikhneumon, literally “searcher, tracker,” perhaps because it hunts crocodile eggs, from ikhneuein “hunt for, track,” from ikhnos “a track, footstep, trace, clue,” of unknown origin. Used by Aristotle for a species of wasp that hunts spiders (a sense in English from 1650s).


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