While in Hawaii, we saw what appeared to be a weasel or ferret scurrying across a pathway into the bushes. A local told us that what we had seen was a mongoose. He did not seem to hold the creature in high regard.
The mongoose was brought into the Hawaiian islands in the late 1800’s when Hawaiian sugar planters imported several in the hope of controlling the rat population. Unfortunately, while a mongoose will eat rats, it prefers a diet of ground-nesting birds and their eggs.
While a goose and a friend are geese, a mongoose and a pal are just two mongooses, and with no natural predators in the Hawaiian islands, they have proliferated and become a nuisance. They have wiped out at least one species of bird on the islands and pose a serious threat to the nene, or Hawaiian goose.
According to local legend, the islanders of Kauai were not keen on the mongoose-as-rat-trap proposition, so they promptly drowned the ones that were sent to their island. Only Kauai and Lanai are free of mongooses. In the meantime, the rats just hang loose…or hang ten.