原版书书名：iOS 4 Programming Cookbook
The animal on the cover of iOS 4 Programming Cookbook is an Egyptian mongoose
(Herpestes ichneumon), also known as an ichneumon. In ancient and medieval writings,
the ichneumon is described as the enemy of the dragon, though it is more famous for
battling snakes. Historic notables such as Pliny the Elder and Leonardo da Vinci recorded
how the ichneumon would coat itself in several layers of mud, let it dry into a
form of armor, and then attack a snake, eventually going for the reptile’s throat. Later,
Rudyard Kipling’s short story Rikki-Tikki-Tavi describes the exploits of the eponymous
Indian mongoose that saves his human family from the scheming cobras in their garden.
There are more than 30 species of mongoose, and all are skilled snake-killers, due in
part to their resistance to venom. Because mongooses have chemical receptors shaped
like those of snakes, it is difficult for neurotoxins to attach and paralyze them. Their
agility, thick fur, and highly developed carnassial teeth (ideal for tearing) are also of use.
The Egyptian mongoose is the largest of all the African species, ranging from 19-23
inches long (with their black-tipped tail adding 13-21 inches more) and weighing 4-7
pounds. The animal’s fur is coarse, generally colored gray with brown flecks. Despite
its name, the Egyptian mongoose can also be found throughout most of sub-Saharan
Africa, and has even been introduced to Madagascar, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. It lives
in forest, savanna, and scrub habitats, never far from water.
The diet of the Egyptian mongoose is primarily carnivorous: it eats rodents, fish, birds,
amphibians, reptiles (including venomous snakes), and insects, though eggs and fruit
are also common. To crack eggs open, the mongoose will hold one between its legs and
throw it at a rock or other hard surface. Mongooses are very versatile in action as well
as diet; they can run backwards, roll over, swim, and stand on their hind feet.