Rudyard Kipling

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Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Characters


The protagonist of the story, Rikki-tikki-tavi is a young, inquisitive mongoose who saves his adoptive English family—and the animals in their garden—from the dastardly cobras Nag and Nagaina. He’s described as fearless, self-confident, and… read analysis of Rikki-tikki-tavi


Nag is a cobra, who along with his mate Nagaina, serves as the primary antagonist of the story. He’s depicted as capricious, self-serving, and cruel—readily devouring helpless animals in the garden such as Darzeeread analysis of Nag


Nagaina, Nag’s mate, readily joins her husband in terrorizing the garden. She conspires with Nag not only to ambush Rikki-Tikki—striking at him while Nag distracts him—but also to murder Teddy and his family… read analysis of Nagaina


Teddy, the young English boy who first finds Rikki-tikki nearly drowned in a roadside ditch, is pivotal to the story, but less as a character in and of himself than as the focus of the… read analysis of Teddy

Teddy’s Father

Teddy’s father never receives a formal name, though it’s clear that he is British, and—since the story takes place in a British military compound—likely that he works with the military or government in some capacity… read analysis of Teddy’s Father
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Teddy’s Mother

Teddy’s mother, Alice, is portrayed as emotionally sensitive, soft-hearted, and often reluctant to face the harsh realities of the world around her. For example, when Teddy’s father suggests that a snake might come into the… read analysis of Teddy’s Mother


Darzee and his wife are a pair of tailorbirds who live in the garden. Like many of the animal occupants, they are terrified of the snakes and lack the ability to stop their depredations. Their… read analysis of Darzee

Darzee’s Wife

The partner of the tailorbird Darzee, she proves less foolish than her husband. Kipling even calls her “a sensible bird,” and she provides Rikki-tikki with valuable assistance in his final battle against Nagainaread analysis of Darzee’s Wife


Chuchundra is a very timid muskrat who lives in Teddy’s family’s house. Rikki-tikki encounters him during one of his nightly patrols, and quickly realizes the muskrat is typical of many of the animal residents… read analysis of Chuchundra
Minor Characters
The young cobra hatchling, implied to be a child of Nag and Nagaina, whom Rikki-tikki battles in the garden early in the story. His small size in fact makes him more dangerous than the older snakes, as he is quicker and harder to catch, but Rikki-tikki defeats him nonetheless.