Mongoose, Barbados Pocket Guide


The introduction of the mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) to Barbados was all part of a plan to eradicate rats. The eradication was seen as necessary as rats were posing a threat to our sugar cane industry, which has been the backbone of the Barbadian economy for many years.


In some instances, this introduction appeared counter-productive as the mongoose would rest at night and go out at the crack of dawn to hunt. Meanwhile, the rat would be out at night feasting throughout the sugar cane fields.


The grass snake and any other snakes that were once prevalent on the island are no more. It is believed that the aggressive introduction of the mongoose is very responsible for the eradication of this species. Some locals still wonder if there has really put a dent in the rat population since the introduction of the mongoose.


This weasel like, furry creature with a long sleek body and short legs can be seen from time to time in the country scurrying across roads and heading into fields.


Lizards, insects, snakes, frogs, crabs and domesticated animals such as chickens and their eggs comprise the diet of the mongoose. Renowned for their fearless methods of attacking their prey, these creatures are quite aggressive by nature and have been often time seen as pests especially in the instances of turtle eggs.


It has been debatable for many years what the plural of mongoose is. Some say mongoose, others say mongeese. As recorded in the A-Z of Barbados Heritage “If in doubt to the plural of mongoose, one would not go wrong in following the lead of an apocryphal Barbadian planter of the nineteenth century. Writing to India he requested ‘one mongoose and eleven others’!


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