El Yunque NF
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  • West Indian Mongoose

    WARNING: Mongooses can be infected with rabies. Do not approach them at any time. Observe them from a safe distance. If you observe an animal acting strangely, please report its location and behavior as quickly as possible to the nearest USFS employee.

    Herpestes auropunctatus

    The mongoose was introduced between 1877 and 1879 from Jamaica (origin is India) to control rats in sugar cane fields. Unfortunately, it did not control the rat population, but it did become a pest in its own right and is a major predator of native birds and reptiles. The mongoose is active during the day, whereas the rat is most active at night.

    It has a head and body length of 9 to 25 inches (230 to 650 millimeters) and a tail length of 9 to 20 inches (230 to 510 millimeters). It can weigh from 14 ounces to 30 pounds. Their fur is long and coarse with a grayish brown coloration. They have five digits on each limb, each with sharp claws.

    Where will I see this animal in El Yunque?

    Mongooses can be found throughout the forest; along the roads and trails and occasionally in the parking lots of the Yokahu Tower Site and the Palo Colorado Site.