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Mongooses and Fossa: Herpestidae - Mongooses And People

islands pests poultry introduced

Mongooses and humanity share intertwined histories. The animals have been the source of innumerable folk tales in their native lands, e.g., "Rikki-tikki-tavi," the famous short story by British writer Rudyard Kipling, based on native legends of India. Mongooses have been praised for destroying pests and condemned for preying on non-pests, especially domestic poultry.

From ancient times until the present, mongooses have been introduced by humanity to mainlands and islands over much of the world, in attempts to keep down problem populations of rats and snakes: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, many of the Caribbean islands, and the islands of Hawaii and Fiji. Since mongooses are so highly adaptable, they soon outdo the original problem they were introduced to control by becoming pests themselves, preying on harmless and beneficial local bird and mammal species, and raiding poultry. A number of countries that have learned the lesson the hard way and now outlaw the possession or importation of mongooses.

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