In the largest sense, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is set in India, in Segowlee. The story, published in 1895, reflects a time in which the British Empire ruled India. The bungalow home of the big man, his wife, and his son Teddy—an English family that saves the mongoose—is more elaborate than anything the little creature has ever seen in his life. As Rikki-tikki-Tavi notes, there is more to find here than his family could "find out about" in their entire lives. As Rikki explores, he
nearly drowned himself in the bath-tubs, put his nose into the ink on a writing table, and burned it on the end of the big man's cigar, for he climbed up in the big man's lap to see how writing was done.
He also eagerly watches how kerosene lamps are lit at night and gets into bed with Teddy. As we can see, Rikki will now have all the benefits of modern European civilization, which are presented as being superior to what his native land can offer.
Perhaps the most important setting for the story, however, is the garden. It is large and half overgrown, with bushes "as big as summerhouses." It also boasts roses, lime and orange trees, bamboos, and places where the grass grows tall. Rikki-tikki is very excited about this habitat, which he thinks will be good for hunting. It is also a place where he make new friends and gets involved in a community of anthropomorphized animals.