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Mongoose Madness

>> Tuesday, November 4, 2008

There are some furry little rodents that live in St. Thomas, and no, I don't mean the rats. And they aren't really rodents at all. We have mongooses here. Yes yes, like Rikki Tikki Tavi. They were imported to the West Indies to aid with rat and snake control. This had HORRIBLE consequences (NOTE TO ALL: don't import animals, EVER!). Now we hardly have any snakes, the few we DO have are now endangered, and the small fauna population in general has suffered (except for iguanas, they hide in trees). Since they no longer have much prey, they are now in decline as well. Funny how that happens! I wish I could show you a picture I took, but they are fast buggers and I have a lot of butt shots. Also, they are predominantly diurnal (day hunters as opposed to nocturnal) and I only have time as the sun is going down to stalk them. They recede very quickly as it darkens.

The image to the right is Herpestes ichneumon. This is the same genus as the species we have here, but not the same species. We have Herpestes auropunctatus. The picture here is from Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain. Little by little, I think you all may become Virgin Islands wild life experts. Hehe.


Kitt November 4, 2008 at 12:22 PM  

It's hard not to love a mongoose! But best to leave them in children's books and their native habitat.

I know there are other Caribbean Islands that have a huge snake problem (pythons, I think) that has wiped out the bird population.

Mimi November 4, 2008 at 12:28 PM  

@ kitt... it's true. People buy pythons as pets and when they get too big release them in the wild . SHAME! But they are cute in books.

Cheryl November 4, 2008 at 2:47 PM  

The mongoose is such a cute animal to watch, their behaviour is captivating.....BUT i could not agree with you more when you say DO NOT import animals.........I can tell you of many times in the UK that this has happened and our native species have suffered and some even bordering on extinction.......Great post........

Mimi November 4, 2008 at 5:47 PM  

@ cheryl... thank you. It is sad that after so many instances of ecosystem disruption that we STILL need reminding, but there it is... :D

Wendy November 4, 2008 at 9:26 PM  

You write such interesting posts! And I quite agree - I wouldn't dream of importing animals. I think that people who walk around with pythons around their necks are really really stupid! Or whatever snake they do that with.

Rikki Tikki Tavi - now that's a name I haven't heard of in ages!! Since my kids were small.

Mimi November 5, 2008 at 10:34 AM  

@ wendy... I am glad you find them interesting! Importing animals can have detrimental results to an ecosystem. I am glad you agree.

Anonymous November 11, 2008 at 1:31 AM  

and you still remember Rikki Tikki Tavi, wow he must have made one big impression on you as a kid. And like Wendy I haven't heard this name since you were a kid. And its funny how the name of the different species sound like something from a Greek Mythology book. hehe

Mimi November 11, 2008 at 6:38 AM  

@ the queen... of course I love Rikki Tikki Tavi. He kicked butt! Yes the species name sound Greek as many of them are based on Greek words. There is a lot of Latin in there as well!

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