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Mongooses

Mongoose
Click to watch movie of trapped mongoose. (5.7MB)

Captain Cook arrived in Hawaii in 1778 and shortly thereafter Hawaii had a thriving rat population.  In 1802 mongooses were introduced to Hawaii in an attempt to control the rat population in the sugar cane fields.  The problem is, whoever the genius is that decided to introduce mongoose missed the fact that mongooses are diurnal (active during the day) while rats are nocturnal and stay safely hidden away during the day.  Instead of controlling the rat population, the mongooses preferred to prey on birds, pretty much devastating the native bird population.

Friend Laying

Broken Egg Seeing a mongoose in Hawaii is about as common as seeing a squirrel on the mainland, they're everywhere.  The local mongoose population has discovered our chickens.  It took us awhile to figure out what was going on.  Occasionally we'd find a broken egg in the chicken coop.  At first we figured it was just a clumsy chicken stepping on them.  We also noticed that the egg count was going down from nearly a dozen eggs a day to only one or two.  That can happen if the chickens' diet isn't right.  Then one day we saw a mongoose jumping out of the coop.  The little bugger was stealing the eggs!

We tried moving the chicken coop to the other side of the yard in the hopes that the mongoose wouldn't go that far.  Of course that didn't work.  I suspect a hungry mongoose is willing to travel quite a distance for a free meal.  One day Sarah said she saw a mongoose grab a chicken by its leg.  Luckily the mongoose was too small to do any serious damage and was no match for a scared chicken flapping around in a panic.  We haven't lost any chickens yet, only eggs.

We had been giving away free eggs to all our neighbors.  When the egg supply ran out one of our neighbors was more than happy to loan us a trap.  It worked great.  We simply set it next to the coop and used a broken egg as bait.  I think we caught our first mongoose within an hour.  It turns out that it hadn't been one mongoose stealing the eggs but a whole legion of them.  For the next several weeks we'd catch a mongoose or two every day.

Dog Release

What do you do with a live mongoose?  If I had a pellet gun or even a .22 I could have dispatched the mongoose without any problems.  All I have is a shotgun but I don't think I'd be able to kill the mongoose without also destroying the $60 trap.  I considered filling a bucket with water and drowning the little varmint but Valerie and the girls didn't care for that idea.  Instead, they decided to release the prisoners at some far away location.  The local trash dump has a large field used to store surplus mulch.  There were already plenty of mongooses in the area so we figured nobody would notice a couple more.

We've ordered our own trap.  As soon as it arrives we'll return the neighbor's trap along with a basket full of fresh eggs.  It seems that as long as we want eggs we're going to have to keep trapping any mongoose that comes within smelling distance.  I don't know exactly how far away a mongoose can smell chickens but I'm sure it's quite a ways.




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