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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mongoose, Hawaii, Plague, Extinction and the Atomic Bomb

Who remembers the cute Rikki Tikki Tavi cartoon? For those of you going, “Rikki what?” it is a story by Kipling (Jungle Book author)about a family living in India. A wild mongoose develops protective feelings for a little boy and guards him from two vicious cobras who have a personal vendetta against the boy and his family. So what I knew about mongoose is they have twinkly eyes, a friendly drive for protecting humans and that the plural of mongoose is not mongeese.
Then I moved to Hawaii. The complete geek in me can’t help doing a little review on why an animal from India is in Hawaii. (Oh indulge me!) As you have guessed, the immigration of the species isn’t from riding coconut shells to the Islands.
When explorers came to the Islands, they brought some great stuff like religion, small pox and rats. Therefore Hawaii had, and still has, a big rat problem. (Not to mention, a history of the death of the majority of native Hawaiian from communicable diseases.)
A side note. If you visit Hawaii, look for metal bands around the base of the palm trees. This is so the rats can climb the trees and nest in the palms.
Well obviously, it was proposed that mongoose, fearless rodent fighters from the East, be transport to Hawaii to decimate the rat population. Only one small problem, mongoose are active in the day and rats active in the night. Result? All ground nesting birds wiped out by the introduced mongoose.
So, from experience, I will say mongoose are not so cute or instinctly protective of young children in danger. They are about the size of a cat, have beady eyes and are a mean! They also love to play in the trash cans. However, once in the trash, they get stuck and they scurry around until someone tips the can and lets them out. I would usually recruit one of the army guys to do the tipping, staying well out of the way of the beady eyed, bitters.
I wonder what they will introduce to take care of the mongoose population. Bears? Plague? The atomic bomb? The last one worked well for the Bikini Islands.

1 comment :

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