Mowgli is the main character in the book. Taken from his village by Shere Khan the tiger, he escapes and runs into a cave where a wolf family live. They treat him as their own and he is raised like a wolf cub. His wolf mother names him Mowgli which means "Little Frog." He is a happy-go-lucky boy who considers himself a wolf. He is brave and spunky as a young child and as he gets older his skills come to match his spunk. He is lithe and athletic, more animal in movement than human, and visually striking to look at. He is wily and smart and able to strategize well. Occasionally his imagination runs away with itself and he is brought back to reality by Bagheera or Baloo. He deeply loves his wolf family as his own. Mowgli is a good, strong leader who honors the Jungle Law and respects the jungle traditions. He is eager to fight and defend his pack whenever he feels they are threatened.
Shere Khan is a tiger who has a pronounced limp due to once being shackled. He is aggressive and extremely predatory, disrespectful of the Jungle Laws regarding killing, and an innate troublemaker. He stole Mowgli from a village on the outskirts of the jungle and never stops trying to hunt and kill him. He is also very political, forging alliances against Mowgli and turning pack members against him. Shere Khan is more brawn than brains and eventually gets trapped by Mowgli, who kills and skins him.
Bagheera is a black panther the color of ink, who most in the jungle are in awe of, and also a little afraid of. He joins the Council at Circle Rock whilst they are discussing Mowgli and trades his vote and a newly-killed boar for Mowgli's acceptance into the pack. He is one of Mowgli's main teachers, the other being Baloo, and is a great guide and example to him. He loves the man-cub dearly and the two spend much time together.
Baloo is a large brown bear who is the only non-wolf to be allowed at Council Rock. He is Mowgli's "sponsor" into the pack and also his primary teacher, teaching him Jungle Law, greetings, and how to stay safe and protected. He is fairly lazy physically because of his substantial weight. He loves to open honey combs by hitting them against the rocks until they break so that he can devour all of the honey within them. Baloo is one of the few characters still living by the time Mowgli leaves to find man again.
Kaa is a giant python blessed with beautiful, polished skin that he regularly sheds. He and Mowgli are great friends and Mowgli likes to lie on him as if a pillow. Kaa saved Mowgli's life when he was taken by monkeys, and was also instrumental in killing the red dogs by transporting Mowgli in silence to the other side of the water. Although he does not like to associate with the wolves, he has great affection for their man cub.
Akela is a gray lone wolf and the leader of the Pack. He is wise and fair, making decisions and keeping the Pack working and strong from the top of Council Rock. He went out of his way to protect Mowgli as a cub and this debt is repaid when Mowgli saves the jungle from the red dogs. Akela is a source of great knowledge and inspires great respect from the rest of the Pack.
Mother Wolf is very protective of Mowgli and raises him as her own. She attends the Council the night of the looking over of cubs, fully prepared to die in order to protect him. She is strong and brave and when angered the fiercest wolf in the Pack.
Father Wolf is also very protective of his new human cub and fully supports his wife in wanting to keep him. He is instrumental in helping Mowgli free the humans who helped him.
Gray Brother is the oldest of Mowgli's four wolf brothers. He and Mowgli are extremely close, never losing touch even when Mowgli leaves the jungle. He is loyal and dependable, always the first to support Mowgli's battle plans.
Chil is a kite, a very majestic bird of prey who feeds off the carcasses of any kill. He is on friendly terms with Mowgli and often carries messages for him, even to the wolves, with whom he would rather not communicate.
Hathi the elephant is King of the Jungle and a wise, inspiring leader. He is the voice of authority in the jungle, for example, calling the water truce during the drought, and leading his sons to help Mowgli drive the humans out of the village. There is no force in the jungle as destructive as Hathi when injured or angry.
The Warden of the King's Treasure
The Warden is an old white cobra who has lived under the ground for so long that he does not realize the Emperor has left and the jungle grown over where his palace used to be. He is cunning and keen to kill but too old to do so, as the venom in his fangs has long since dried up.
One of the few humans with a name in the book, Buldeo is the village chief who unwittingly sees Mowgli fighting alongside the wolves to kill Shere Khan. He is intent upon taking advantage of Mowgli and absolutely furious when he is not able to. He is a decent hunter but no match for the jungle. He is given to exaggeration and told his village that Mowgli changed from human to wolf to boy again before his very eyes.
Messua is Mowgli's human mother who recognizes her son when he returns at eleven years old and again at seventeen. She is loving and protective, nursing Mowgli back to health after his Spring Running. It is suggested that Mowgli returns to live with her when he leaves the jungle.
Rikki-tikki-tavi is a mongoose who is the protagonist of the last tale in the book. He was washed away from his parents and ends up in a house with a young family, which is the goal of every well-raised mongoose. He is protective of the family and extremely bold and courageous. He rescues the family from certain death by cobra bite no less than three times and is adept at thinking of ways in which to kill the snakes. He lives a happy life with the family diligently making sure the backyard is in good order and totally free from snakes.
Nag and Nagaina
Nag and Nagaina are married cobras who live under the bungalow where Rikki-tikki-tavi lives with his human family. They want nothing more than to kill the humans so that they may have the bungalow and garden to themselves for when their children are born. Both snakes are aggressive and calculating but neither is a match for the mongoose, who kills them both.
He is a white seal born to Sea Catch and Matkah. He decides he must prevent man's killing of young seals by finding a fabled island where man cannot come. Once he succeeds in this, he brings the thousands of seals from his homeland there.
An old, strong, and scarred seal, he is the father of Kotick.
She is Sea Catch's wife and Kotick's mother.
An Aleut and chief of the seal-hunters on the island, he thinks Kotick is a bad omen.
He is Booterin's son.
Darzee and Darzee's Wife
They are two birds who live in the garden where Rikki-tikki comes to reside. Darzee is a little silly, but Darzee's wife is clever and helps Rikki-tikki get rid of the snakes.
Kala Nag's Indian driver and father of Little Toomai, he prefers the quiet and peace of camp life as opposed to hunting life. Although he loves his son and is teaching him the ways of the elephants in the same manner as he was taught, he is easily irritated at his son's courageous but foolhardy behavior.
A bright and courageous young boy, he is the son of Big Toomai and his even more famous driver-grandfather. Kala Nag loves him and takes him with him to the elephants' dance. This raises his standing among the men and especially Peterson Sahib, the white leader of the Indian Government's elephant department and a man whom Little Toomai greatly admires. He will one day be the greatest of all the drivers.
The strong, old, and respected elephant in service of the Indian Government. His driver is Big Toomai, whom he loves, but he really feels affection for Little Toomai and takes the boy to see the elephants' dance.
The white man who heads the Indian Government's Keddah operations and who knows more about elephants than anyone. Little Toomai looks up to him, especially when Peterson Sahib notices him, gives him a bit of money, and tells him he can go into the Keddah where he sees the elephant-dance.
The Narrator of "Her Majesty's Servants"
He is a white man who is privy to the conversations of the animals the night before the military review for the Amir of Aghanistan.
Little Vixen is the white man's little dog.
He is an older, gruff mule in the Indian Army.
A younger mule in the service of the Indian Army, he is nervous and easily frightened.
The troop-horse is a horse in the service of the Indian Army.
They are two large and implacable creatures in the service of the Indian Army.
The camel is one of the easily spooked animals in the Amir's army.
He is the elephant in the service of the Indian Army. The other animals respect him a lot.
Tha is the wise and stately First of the Elephants and Master of the Jungle.
The First of the Tigers
The First Tiger is appointed judge of the Jungle People's disputes but errs and brings Death into the jungle when he kills a buck. He then thinks he can alleviate Fear (in the form of Man) by killing him, but this backfires and more Men come. He gains his stripes by violating the laws and feels shame and fear, but maintains one night a year where he goes among men and they fear him.
He is a Brahmin, educated at Bombay University in the ways of the West, and Prime Minister of a semi-independent Indian state. Purun Dass respects and desires to emulate the ways of the English and thus earns their commendation and a Knighthood. After a time, though, he steps down from his post to seek out peace and fulfillment. He travels very far to the Himalayas and becomes a holy man for a small village. His time there is exactly what he desires and he befriends all of the wild animals, but he perishes leading his villagers out of danger when torrential rains bring the mountain down.
The Adjutant ("The Undertakers")
A crane who lives near the river, he is tall and thin and the villagers do not bother him.
The Jackal ("The Undertakers")
A small, mangy creature, he is friends with the Mugger and the Adjutant.
The Mugger of Mugger-Ghaut
An extremely old and weathered twenty-four-foot crocodile who lives in the river, he is feared and respected by the villagers, though not by the white man. He recounts stories of the past, particularly the Mutiny. A white man whom the crocodile once tried to eat when he was a child shoots the crocodile at the end.
He is a young Inuit man who, with the girl and his dogs, travels to find seals to feed his starving village.
He is an Inuit and father of Kotuku.
The Girl ("Quiquern")
A young girl who loses her father and brother, she comes to stay with Kotuku's family and travels with him to find seals.
The Jungle Book Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Jungle Book is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.