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Have you seen mongoose (Herpestes javanicus)?
Hawaii Early Detection Network Priority Pest for Kauai and Lanai


mongoose flower
Mongoose have long, weasel-like bodies
mongoose plant

Mongoose tails are as long as their bodies
Images: Wikipedia Commons

Identification: The mongoose is a weasel-like animal totaling about 26" in length with a long, brownish body, short legs and a tail as long as its body. They have small rounded ears and a pointed nose. The mongoose is active during the day and generally sleeps in dens at night.
Impacts: Mongooses are opportunistic feeders that will eat birds, small mammals, reptiles, insects, fruits, and plants. They prey on the eggs and hatchlings of native ground nesting birds and endangered sea turtles. The small Indian mongoose has been blamed with the extinction of ground-nesting birds in Jamaica and Fiji and commonly eat/predate several endangered Hawaiian birds, such as shearwaters and nene. It is estimated that mongoose cause $50 million in damages to Hawai`i and Puerto Rico annually.
Dispersal Mechanism: Mongooses hitchhike between islands on cargo shipments or are illegally-released pets. Mongooses have a rapid reproduction rate; females produce an average of 6 offspring a year.
Origin, Distribution, and Habitat: The mongooses found in Hawai'i are native to India and were originally introduced to Hawai'i Island in 1883. Mongooses were imported by the sugar industry to control rats in sugarcane fields on Maui, Moloka'i and O'ahu. This attempt failed because rats are primarily night-active while mongooses are dayactive. On Kaua'i, one female, lactating mongoose was found as a road-kill in 1976 and in subsequent years there have been numerous, credible sightings all over the island. KISC is working on verifying if there are reproducing populations on Kaua'i. Mongooses can live in both wet and dry conditions including gardens, grasslands, and forests. Please report all suspected mongoose sightings on Kaua'i!

More information about this pest external link


Mongoose look-alikes:


cat (from wikipedia)

Cats have pointed ears, flat noses, and long legs (unlike mongoose)

Cats, rats, and occasionally fleeing pheasants have been mistaken for mongooses. Cats have a rounder head, pointed ears, longer legs, a flat nose, and usually have a jumping pounce. Large rats run low to the ground, like mongooses, but are usually spotted at night (unlike mongooses). Pheasants also run with a low profile and since sighting them lasts only seconds, they can easily be mistaken.

Bidens pilosa

Rats do not have hair on the tail like the mongoose.

Last Updated: Monday January 30 2012. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.