Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Even Creature Feature, Small Indian Mongoose

The Small Indian Mongoose is a common sight on Hawaii. This is an alien species introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1883 to cope with the explosion in the rat population in the sugar cane fields. It was believed that the Small Indian Mongoose was successful in controlling rats in the cane fields of Jamaica in the 1870s, so it was thought it would be a good idea on the Hawaiian Islands.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

This may have looked good on paper (or at least on the paper that was published W.B. Espeut who brought the mongoose from Calcutta to Jamaica) however there was an important point that was missed. Mongooses are diurnal, rats are nocturnal. Thus, the two ships never pass in the night…or day, so to speak.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Hence the rat population remained unchecked, and so did the mongoose population. Mongooses are predators and they have a taste for ground nesting bird eggs and chicks. Therefore the native wildlife is suffering. The Hawaiian Goose had been extirpated from most of the islands. Efforts are underway to get the population established again.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

These little guys were everywhere. They are fast, sleek, skittish and are hard to photograph. They also have a bit of a curious streak, and this one was interested in my camera’s beep for about five seconds.


The Giraffe Head Tree said...

That last shot made me laugh! What a cutie!

ksdoolittle said...

How often do attempts to eradicate something only cause more of a problem? Cute guy, tho'.

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