Some species of mongoose can be easily domesticated. They are fairly intelligent and can be taught simple tricks, so they are often kept as pets to protect the home from vermin. However, they can be more destructive than desired; when imported into the West Indies for the purpose of killing rats, they destroyed most of the small, ground-based fauna. Because of this, it is illegal to import mongooses into the United States.
The most famous popular artistic representation of the animal is in the Jungle Book story Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, which depicts the adventures of a young mongoose defending his human family from murderous cobrass.