Mongoose or Mongeese?

As the Beast from the East (or Hysteria from Siberia) has us wrapped in an icy chill I decided to look back at some photo’s from Barbados to warm me up.

 Almost the first wildlife I spotted in Barbados was a mongoose. They were all around the hotel grounds and even appeared by your side while chilling by the pool. They do make you jump a little as your first thought when you catch sight of one is “rat”.

Mongoose in the grass

Mongoose in the grass

They are not endemic to Barbados but were introduced as part of a plan to combat rats which were seen as a potential threat to the sugar cane crop. However as with a lot of non-native species introductions things didn’t go quite to plan. Mongoose are active during the day while the rats are more active at night so rarely did the two meet so there was little rat eradication!

Hotel mongoose

Hotel mongoose

One unfortunate consequence of their introduction though was they managed to wipe out every snake species on the island, who would also have dieted on rats. Sometimes its best to leave things alone and let Nature sort things out!

Mongoose with an itch

Mongoose with an itch

As to the conundrum of the plural of mongoose, if you’re not sure you could take advice from the A-Z of Barbados Heritage who offer this wisdom, “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’!

5 comments

  1. bettylouise31 · February 28, 2018

    So many introductions have been bad for the native species. One interest a ladybugs were import from Japan and introduced in Eastern Washington state to control the aphids. They disappeared, a couple years later the ladybugs appeared in Western Washington on white house. It was so bad we were telling to vacuum them up. Another that went wrong brought in the chicks to the best fields for hunting. They disappeared and later established themselves in the foothills and are very hard to hunt. The meat is delicious, however.

    • spugwash · February 28, 2018

      We manage to make a mess where ever we go.

  2. Mongii?

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