(Herpestes auropunctata and Herpestes javanicus)
It is against Hawaii State law for any person to introduce, keep or breed any mongoose within the State except by permit from HDOA; permits are not issued for Kauai County or the island of Lanai. Fines for violations are between $250 and $1,000 for each mongoose introduced, kept or bred. HDOA Animal Industry Division Quarantine Rules HRS 142-92.
- Weasel-like animal that has a long, brownish body, short legs, and a tail that is as long as its body. Average length, including tail is about 2 feet
- Small ears, pointed nose
- Active during the daytime and sleep in dens at night
- Native to India, introduced to Hawaii Island in 1883 (via Jamaica, where it was also introduced), then introduced to Maui, Molokai, and Oahu; none were introduced on the island of Kauai. Mongoose were imported by the sugar industry to control rats in cane fields. This infamous mistake was made without any scientific testing or much knowledge about mongoose. Mongoose, which are active during the day, did not control the rats because the rats are primarily active at night.
- Predator of birds, small mammals, reptiles, insects, fruits and plants. The eggs and hatchlings of ground nesting native seabirds and waterbirds (like our state bird, the nene) and endangered sea turtles (like the hawksbill sea turtle) are especially at risk.
- Females can breed from the age of 10 months. Females have two or three litters of three pups each per year.
- Cost an estimated $50 million in damages to the Hawaiian Islands and Puerto Rico annually.
One female mongoose was found dead along a road in 1976 near Kalaheo, and sightings have been reported all over the Garden Island. In May, 2012, KISC captured the first live mongoose near the Lihue Airport. A second mongoose was captured in June 2012, near the Nawiliwili port. The last mongoose captured was in October 2016, at Lihue Airport. KISC is working to verify whether a population exists on Kauai. Please report sighting immediately!
- Feral Cats – While it may seem obvious that the picture below is a cat, it is quite common to mistake a cat for a mongoose. There are widespread feral cats covering the entire island. Cats and mongoose actually share similar habits, by way of hunting prey, and swiftly chasing prey through the forest or across the road. Keep in mind that cats usually come out around dusk, and are active during the night, where mongoose are active during the day. Mongoose always run with their tail parallel to the ground, where cats often have their tail curving upwards.
- Rats – Rats are an introduced invasive species, but can commonly be mistaken for a mongoose because of their behavior, similar to cats. However, rats have a hairless tail, and are usually much smaller than mongoose.