Tag Archives: Mongooses

Small Indian Mongoose

A mongoose in Hawaii

A Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) surveys its surroundings. Easily distinguished by its short legs, long body and tail, and beady red eyes, this mongoose is the poster child for bad ideas in Hawaii. It was deliberately introduced to get rid of rats, which it didn’t do. Instead, it has decimated native bird populations on all the islands except Kaua’i, where it is still, officially, absent.

Move over mynas

When I pulled in to the parking lot of a local beach park, a flock of mynas was gathered around something on the ground. By time I opened the car door, the mynas were hopping around in a huff because this mongoose had moved in to snatch their spoil.

I suspect the focus of the dispute was rice left over from someone’s lunch, which had been dumped in the lot in the sure and certain knowledge it wouldn’t be there long.

Two mongooses

I thought, for a brief exciting moment, that these two mongooses might come to blows. The look given by the farther mongoose suggested as much. I was ready with my camera for the encounter, but it didn’t happen. Instead the two of them seemed quite content in each other’s company and spent their time scavenging in the grass for scraps of food.

Nene and mongoose

Two Nene and mongoose

Nene charging a mongooseThis pair of nene (Hawaiian goose) were grazing when they noticed the mongoose (above). A mongoose isn’t a real threat to an adult nene, but it’s a real menace to a nene’s eggs and chicks. Though these birds weren’t nesting in this area and didn’t have chicks with them, Their protective instincts kicked in and one of the birds chased the mongoose away (second photo).

The mongoose scurried off into the tall grass, then reappeared on the edge and took stock of the scene (third photo). But when it ventured out (bottom), the nene’s attitude hadn’t mellowed and another charge ensued.

Mongoose surveys the sceneThis scenario was repeated a few times before the mongoose lost interest and wandered off. Mongooses are very quick and will use this tactic of feints and retreats to wear out their intended victim. In this case, like the nene, it appeared to be more going through the motions in preparation for the next time it encounters a nene nest or chicks.

Two Nene face a mongoose

Mongoose alert


On a recent hike at Pu’u Wa’awa’a, I was ambling along one of the trails when I heard squeals and a commotion in the grass a few feet off to the side. A mongoose shot out from cover hotly pursued by a second one. They took off down the trail, away from me, before vanishing into the undergrowth on the other side.

A couple of minutes later, this one reemerged, trotting away on the trail before it turned suddenly and gave me this look. I don’t think my presence had registered earlier, so it must have been a bit surprised to see me. Don’t know what happened to the other one, but since I didn’t hear any horrendous screeching, I suspect it got away.

For more information about Pu’u Wa’awa’a and its trails, go to puuwaawaa.org.

Mongoose tanning?

A mongoose stands in the morning sun.

I saw this mongoose one morning, standing in the sunlight at the edge of the yard. It noticed me, of course, but remained in place for a while before disappearing. After I went indoors again, I looked out of the window and it was back, soaking up the rays.