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Photo by Don Hebert

Long time St. John residents may remember how Mongoose Junction got its name. There was once an area where dumpsters were located that first got the name “Mongoose Junction” because of the many mongooses that were attracted to it.

St. John has been plagued by mongooses ever since planters brought them from India to control the rats that were eating their sugar cane. It was a futile move that only caused more problems, being that rats hunt during the night and live in trees and mongoose hunt during the day and live on the ground. A problem for both tree nesting birds and ground fowl like chickens. The problem was so bad that in 1936, there was only one sign posted in all of St. John. It was nailed to the palm tree nearest the town dock in Cruz Bay, signed by the Government Secretary and embossed with the government seal, announcing a bounty, dead or alive, for mongooses: fifteen cents for a male and twenty five cents for a female.

It came to my attention yesterday that I haven’t seen a mongoose for several years now. They used to be a common sight on St. John, hanging around dumpsters, darting across the North Shore Road or squashed on the road. Not anymore. What happened?

It seems that a government mongoose trapping program has been effective in controlling the beasts, officially classified as an invasive species. They’re either rare or gone from our island. The same can be said for Tortola, but not Jost Van Dyke, where a chicken hardly has a chance.

Noticed the increase in the iguana population on land and the prevalence of turtles in the offshore seagrass beds? Partly due, I’m sure, to the fact that their eggs are no longer at great risk from the sly mongoose.

St. John Live Music Schedule Friday June 22

Aqua Bistro – Stephan Sloan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Castaways – Mikey P 8:00 – Dance Party 11:00 – 777-3316
Cinnamon Bay – Eddie Bruce Drum Circle – 6:30 – 8:00
Cruz Bay Prime – James Cobb – 7:00 – 10:00 – 693 -8000
Driftwood Dave’s – John W Lee – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Island Blues – Slammin – 776 6800
Morgan’s Mango - Lauren – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill - T-Bird – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Rhumblines – Erin Hart – 7:00 – 10:00
Spyglass - James Milne – 5:00 – 8:00 – 776-1100

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6 Responses to “St. John Creatures: What Happened to the Mongoose Dem?”
  1. Linda says:

    Interesting observation; I have not been on St John for almost three years, but we saw several then.

  2. patrick says:

    I still see them all the time. I always take North shore from Coral going and coming, In fact here on Bordeaux they are always eating the chicken eggs. Things seem to be in balance. There’s plenty of rain forest chickens running around.

  3. Uslight says:

    In March we saw several- at least 3- in fairly public places, and one of them actually was in the back parking lot at Mongoose Junction. Another near the Anneberg parking lot. Another in Coral Bay.
    Also saw one on St. Thomas, exploring the trash at the far end of Magens.

  4. Pia says:

    I must see at least 5 a day – every day !!

  5. Ed Gibney says:

    There are fewer but there’re not gone. But if you half the numbers but leave the food supply the same the remaining animals don’t need to hunt as agressively. Hence the increase in bush fowl, iguanas etc.

  6. gerald says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Ed. I’ve seen a lot of traps, but none with mongoose in them and haven’t noticed any lately, but I see from the comments that they’re still with us.

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