Once upon a time there were rats in Hawaii, and someone made the suggestion, "Let's get a whole bunch of mongooses to kill off all those rats." And yes, mongooses are the proper plural of mongoose. Not ‘mongeese’. Anyway, some sugar cane farmers on the Big Island bought about 72 mongooses from a group of Jamaicans and released them into the wild to hunt down those rats to keep them from getting into the sugar cane. But, though the mongooses did manage to kill a few rats, it was not nearly enough to stop the rat problem. In their grand plan, the farmers had missed one important detail: Rats are mostly nocturnal creatures, and mongooses hunt during the day. This left these newly-introduced creatures to find other ways to get their bellies filled.
The Scavenger Thief
If you didn't know better, you might mistake a mongoose for a ferret, but these two creatures share more than a visual similarity. Though the mongoose can definitely hold its own in the wild, it is also known to steal meals when given the opportunity. One snack it particularly enjoys is spam musubi. It is more than happy to snatch it from a golf cart or picnic table when your back is turned, but being a thief is not what makes this creature a threat to Hawaii.
The Great Hawaiian Hunter
If you're familiar with the history of the mongoose you know that it is an impressive hunter, best known for its ability to take down a king cobra, one of the deadliest animals on the face of the earth. This trait would be extremely helpful if Hawaii had a ton of snakes. Sadly, we do not. Until recently, snakes were not found on any of the islands. But, as it turns out, the mongoose isn't just good at killing snakes. Residents here have learned that this creature is unmatched in its ability to destroy native species. In a state that is considered to have more endangered species per square mile than anywhere else in the world, this is not a good thing.
Other Invasive Species
There are a number of creatures that have been introduced to Hawaii over the years. Some were introduced on purpose and others by accident. What makes a species invasive? Whenever it has a negative effect on the economy, the natural ecology, or on the health of residents living in the state, it’s considered invasive. Whether it is a bug, animal, plant, or bacteria, invasive species have a destructive influence.
For a list of invasive species in Hawaii, visit the website for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council. If you have a mongoose or any other invasive species living on your property, give us a call here at Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions. Together, we can protect our state from these harmful invaders.