From Alabama to Arizona to California, squirrels are almost everywhere across the country but what about Hawaii? Like any other state, Hawaii has lots of plants and animals but the only one native land mammal hoary bat. But what about squirrels? Are there squirrels in Hawaii? Which Island of the Hawaii does have squirrel? Here are the answers.
The Short Answer…
Even though squirrels are found in large populations in the other American States, Hawaii is one of few states with no squirrels. Since all the animals in Hawaii are imported there, no one ever decided to bring squirrels to reproduce in the Hawaiian islands.
Today you may only meet squirrels in Hawaiian zoos. Their squirrels live in captivity, and there is no intention to let them live free in the islands. Since squirrels are not present in the islands, it’s better to analyze the reasons and why they couldn’t make it there through the colonization period.
Why Are There No Squirrels In Hawaii?
No squirrel has ever entered the ships coming from the Americas and Europe to dominate the Hawaiian islands. Because squirrels are mostly considered pests that make unpleasing sound and actions like gnawing, scratching and transfer diseases. But squirrels are not involved in only bad deeds. They are also quite beneficial to the environment and are cause of the growing many trees every year. Not to mention, squirrels are also a great source of food that many people hunt and eat squirrels from their backyard. Nonetheless, if you want to shoot squirrels, you might need to know if its legal to do so.
With that reason, squirrels do not couldn’t travel and come to Hawaii by themselves. That’s the main reason these islands remained without the presence of squirrels for a great deal of time.
The Hawaiian local government strictly controls the import of other animal species in Hawaii. Squirrels are among the species not intended to get imported and reproduced in Hawaii. That’s why it’s impossible to come across a squirrel when having your vacation in any of the Hawaiian islands except zoo. Perhaps, it’s also illegal to bring squirrels to Hawaii.
What Is The Animal Looking Like Squirrels in Hawaii?
An animal called Mongoose looks like a squirrel and is very frequently seen in Hawaiian nature. The creature is called Small Asian Mongoose or Herpestes Javanicus. It looks like a squirrel since it has a longer nose and thick hair like the ones of our well-known rodents.
The Mongoose comes from Asia (first inhabited India in the past) and has a size starting from eight inches when it’s born and coming to twenty five inches when reaching adulthood. Its lifespan is anywhere between eight and thirteen years. As a result, you are more likely to meet an adult mongoose in Hawaii in parks and forests and the streets of cities and suburbs.
When Mongoose Came In Hawaii?
That Mongoose came in the 1800s as a response to the rats’ invasion after sugarcane cultivation. Rats were attracted by sugar cane and rapidly reproduced. That created a real mess for the Hawaiian islands, and that’s why Mr. Espeut decided to bring the Mongoose’s initial population from the island of Jamaica.
That animal is supposed to reduce rats and operates through the day and usually sleeps at night. As a result, the attempt to control the rats’ population failed, and Mongoose started reproducing rapidly on the island. They like to eat eggs, fruits, and nuts, mushrooms and there are only a few natural predators for these animals on the Hawaiian islands like owls, eagles and raccoons. Yes, raccoons are there in Hawaii.
Humans are the main predators for the Mongoose population in Hawaii. Every female Mongoose can give birth to two to five baby Mongooses every year. As a result, their population has risen exponentially through the years, and some of them may attack hens to steal their eggs since they love eating them. Humans may catch them in traps and kill them to reduce their overwhelming population.
Do Mongoose Act The Same Like Squirrels in Hawaii?
Mongooses usually eat fruits like pine cones and vegetables and have almost the same preference for eggs as squirrels do. In this aspect, we could say that Mongooses act the same as squirrels in the Hawaiian islands. However, a Kauai (Hawaiian island) has extinct any existing Mongoose population.
That happened because Kauai residents were intimidated by the presence of the first Mongooses, who bit some of them. So they decided to let them draw in the harbor, and the Mongooses never had the chance to reproduce on that island.
Mongooses are known as Caribbean squirrels since they have almost the same size and the same tail length as the real squirrels. They also attack the lizards and have limited their population in any place introduced.
Which Hawaiian Island Has Squirrels?
There is literally no Hawaiian island that has squirrels on it. You may find an original squirrel in Maui or Honolulu zoos and wild animal refugees. However, squirrels were never a part of the natural fauna of the Hawaiian islands.
Today the government doesn’t intend to import squirrels in Hawaii since you may have seen that another species called Mongoose (the Caribbean Squirrel) has dominated the place and reproduced in large numbers in most Hawaiian islands through the last centuries.
Which Natural Predators of Squirrels Are In Hawaii And What Do They Eat Instead of Squirrels?
The natural predators of squirrels are weasels, raccoons, and coyotes. They are abundant in all the American States besides Hawaii. As a result, there are no natural predators of squirrels in Hawaii.
On the other hand, some birds may also be natural predators of squirrels. These birds are the eagles, the falcons, the hawks, and the owls but also crows in some cases. Unfortunately, there are no native populations of these birds in none of the Hawaiian islands. As mentioned before, the only animals resembling squirrels in Hawaii are Mongooses, and they have no natural predators.
What Do Mongoose Look Like and What Do They Prefer to Eat?
From its appearance, Mongooses look like huge squirrels that can reach up to 24 inches in size. Their tail is the same as the squirrels, which is why many visitors perceive them as squirrels. Mongooses are usually omnivore eating both fruits, vegetables and meat.
Their meat meal may include smaller animals like reptiles, birds, fish, snakes, frogs, insects, and worms. They also like to eat nuts, grains, berries, and seeds. However, their premium treat is eggs, and they usually enter chicken nests to steal the newborn eggs. They try to crack the eggs by hitting them on hard edges and then suck the internal content.
Mongoose is one of the most invasive species found on earth. When they first were introduced in Hawaii and Jamaica, they failed to control the increasing black rats’ population but soon managed to limit other species like frogs and snakes on the islands.
It’s also useful to know that Mongoose may be bitten by venomous snakes and get eaten by them. However, these snakes (like Cobras) are not present in Hawaii, and as a result, there is no natural predator to limit the Mongoose’s domination on the Hawaiian islands.