View Full Version : Mongoose care?

04-17-2010, 10:15 PM
Hello everyone,

I was referred here by an old co-worker of mine who lives in Kentucky and has two ferrets. My situation is I live here in Hawai’i and I am going to catch and raise a baby mongoose. As you all may know, the mongooses we have here in Hawai’i are Egyptian mongooses and they are solitary and easily tamed if you raise them from a baby. But I was wondering what is you all’s advice regarding caring for a mongoose? I mean everything. My co-worker briefly mentioned that mongooses are similar to ferrets so I was thinking that the experts here should be able to help me out because I can’t seem to find ANY authoritative definitive books about raising mongooses. And yes I am aware that they are illegal to own here in Hawai’i but I don’t see the difference since they all over the place anyway. Ok, I am excited to receive some guidance in this area! I will get my baby mongoose as soon as I feel I am equipped with enough knowledge from you all or any authoritative book(s) you all recommend. Mahalo (Thanks) in advance and Aloha! :)

04-18-2010, 05:05 AM
Ferrets and mongoose may be similar in looks, diet and behavior. I even read that they are used as pets in Egypt. But they are still wild animals where ferrets have been domesticated for thousands of years. My concern would be if your little one were to get sick what vet would see it? I am not saying I am against or for you getting the little one, but that would be my prime concern. I really don't have any advice on care as the only thing I know about them is what I have read and seen on TV. And even though they are similar to ferrets they are from a different family and not related. Different genus altogether.
Good luck and I hope you find what you are looking for.

04-18-2010, 07:21 AM
Found this on the internet...

The mongoose here in Thailand is a bit different to the South African and Indian variety - smaller for a start. They need to be taken as young kits and hand raised because they need to be socialised. They bite (hard) as a normal play mode so you will need to temper that behaviour or risk a significant injury. A behaviour of mongoose is that they cannot abide another predator near them and they do normally interpret a human as a parallel predator. This puts then into a flurry of activity. In a cage or enclosure they will run a circuit around and around until the threat (person) leaves.

A mongoose will take on a cat or even a dog and they are fearsome fighters. Cats are very good with teeth and claws for defence but they like to stand off and go through the moves by hissing and spitting at each other. A mongoose will just attack them and is very capable of doing serious damage.

They have a high metabolism so need a high fat balanced diet - quality kitten food is a good start but they like chicken necks to chew on and keep their teeth sharp and clean. I am not sure if there are any vets who would have any experience with them but like cats they need similar shots but at REDUCED amounts due to body size. Similarly to worming them - be careful about sticking a finger down their throat as you try to feed them a tablet. Better is to wrap it in a small piece of bacon.

Legal wise - not really, it is illegal to take them from the wild however if you find one at the weekend market (BKK) they will not exactly be legal but not really illegal either. Bit like everything else here - if everything goes ok there aren't any problems.

Be aware that mongoose like to wander and have absolutely no concept of return on call. If you want to let them run free outside make sure it is in your garden and that it is absolutely, positively impossible for them to excape.

04-18-2010, 10:27 AM
First let me say that I am in no way advocating the capture of wild animals as pets. It is no secret that I am very much against this. This is not meant to be a slam on you or anyone else, just my personal feeling and opinion on the matter so please do not take offense.

But you came here with a valid question, so I will try to help. As mentioned above, the mongoose is not a close relative to the ferret at all. It is more closely related to the meerkat. Though it is a carnivorous mammal, it is not an obligate carnivore like ferrets...meaning mongooses supplement their diet with fruits and nuts on occasion.

The mongooses on the Hawaiian islands are most likely a hybrid of the Asian or Indian mongooses that were deliberately released there over 200 years ago in an effort to fix the rat problem that was plaguing the sugar cane farmers. But as with New Zealand's efforts to fix their rabbit problem, turning loose an invasive predator on an island where there are no larger predators to keep the populations under control, the mongoose was able breed and overpopulate. Hence the problem Hawaii has now with mongooses killing off ground nesting birds. But I'm guessing you already know this. These irresponsible releases of non-native species, and the subsequent problems it caused have now become the excuse that organizations such as California's Department of Fish and Game have [illogically] used to ban pet ferrets in that state.

Mongooses do have many of the same characteristics as the ferret. They are playful, intelligent, and cunning. They have anal glands that emit a very strong odor when frightened or excited, and males do mark their territory with urine. Unaltered males can be expected to smell very pungent. Most mongooses are solitary creatures and are diurnal, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Their breeding season is roughly from September to April....meaning males are going to stink for several months.

There are many reports online of people successfully keeping the mongoose as a pet. They are reported to bite extremely hard, even during play. Your biggest issue is going to be in finding a veterinarian to treat the mongoose, as mentioned by Megawee. Vet care is of utmost importance when caring for any pet, and many vets do not want to treat wild animals because of the diseases they carry. Also, many vets are not going to be well versed in caring for wild and/or exotic pets. For example, the mongoose is known to carry the zoonotic [can be transferred to humans] disease, leptospirosis. The mongoose will need to be treated for fleas without a doubt. It appears to be a big problem in Hawaii from what I read. I am unable to find any information on what treatment would be safe to use. And because the mongoose is a wild animal, I find no specific research regarding what distemper and rabies vaccination would be appropriate for this species [though I suppose it could be assumed that the canine variety may work since they are canids].

Basically, raising a mongoose truly would not be the same as raising a pet ferret, an animal that has been domesticated longer than the common house cat. My recommendation to you would be to get in contact with someone from a local zoo or wildlife center there in Hawaii and inquire about such things as appropriate vaccinations, illnesses and what to watch for, appropriate feeding and habitat, etc. They can give you much more valuable information than a group of ferret owners would be able to provide. You could tell them you are writing a paper or something if you fear legal action. If you are set on doing this, please continue to research thoroughly...if you attempt to domesticate a wild animal, you owe it to the animal to provide it with the best care.

A few resources I found, sorry I have a busy schedule so don't have time right now to look for more:

The references listed at the end of the Wiki article may be of some help to you:

Likewise, references listed at the end of the article may prove useful:

Best wishes.

04-18-2010, 08:26 PM
Wow, thank you all for the great responses so far!! I am a bit surprised that this question seemingly hasn't been asked here before. No-one else has tried to raise a mongoose. :( Guess, I'll be the first.

I used to volunteer at the zoo here so I think I should be able to speak with someone regarding the care of mongooses. I didn't think to inquire there because of legal issues. I did go to a local vet clinic here two days ago and I was honest with them. I just told them I found an injured baby mongoose and if they would care for it OR if they knew any clinic/hospital here that would. They wouldn't and they said they don't think any would so I will continue to research the vet problem. Hopefully all goes well because we don't have ferrets here in Hawai'i so mongooses are my only option. Hopefully, I'll let you all know how it goes. Aloha!

04-21-2010, 11:21 AM
I know of someone in Hawaii, who has successfully trained and has kept a couple of mongoose. Apparently, they are similar to house cats - but like all wild animals adapted to live socially with humans - there are many dissimilarities as well.