Herpestes javanicus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Herpestidae

Scientific Name: Herpestes javanicus
Species Authority: (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1818)
Common Name(s):
English Javan Mongoose
Taxonomic Notes: Wozencraft (2005) considered Herpestes auropunctatus to be conspecific with Herpestes javanicus, but Taylor and Matheson (1999) and Veron et al. (2006) suggest a specific status. H. palustris is considered conspecific with H. auropunctatus (under H. javanicus) by Wozencraft (2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2008-07-02
Assessor(s): Wozencraft, C., Duckworth, J.W., Choudury, A., Muddapa, D., Yonzon, P., Kanchanasaka, B., Jennings A. & Veron, G.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Schipper, J.
This species is listed as Least Concern (LC) in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. The species is found in a wide variety of open habitats including low intensity use agriculture, and thus habitat modification is very unlikely to significantly effect the species to warrant a list category higher than LC (especially given the species presumed short generation time). Records of the species especially from agricultural areas in Lao where hunting of wildlife has been very intense, strongly suggest a high degree of resilience to persecution. In very large areas of Cambodia, a significant portion of the species' mainland SE Asian population, both pressure from habitat modification and hunting are very low. No other threats have been identified that could be leading to a significant decline in the species.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The small Asian mongoose occurs across a wide range from Iran through northern India and into Indochina (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). In Asia, this species ranges from sea level to 2,100 m (Simberloff et al. 2000).

Outside of its natural range, this species has many well established populations. Introduced mongoose has been implicated in the devastation of the native fauna, especially on islands (Baldwin et al. 1952, Seaman and Randall 1962, Nellis and Everard 1983, Coblentz and Coblentz 1985). The IUCN lists the Small Asian Mongoose as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive alien species (Lowe et al. 2000). This species was introduced to the West Indies, the Hawaiian Islands, Mauritius, the Fijian Islands, and Okinawa (Simberloff et al. 2000), as well as the Comores and Amami-Oshima Island, Japan (Abe 2005). The reasoning behind these introductions was primarily control of rat and snake populations (S. Abe pers. comm. 2006). The Small Asian Mongoose is also often taken aboard ships, indirectly introducing them to new areas (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm.). The species recently reached Hong Kong (M. Lau pers. comm. 2006), and has also been recorded from the island of Madura, Indonesia (Meiri 2005), but it is not known whether this was due to human introduction or natural dispersal. There are several individuals from northern Sumatra (see van Strien 2001), which were described by Sody (1949) as H. javanicus tjerapai. Within its introduced range, the Small Asian Mongoose has been recorded from sea level to maximum elevations of 3,000 m on the Hawaiian Islands (Baldwin et al. 1952).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Thailand; Viet Nam
Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Fiji; Jamaica; Japan; Mauritius; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; United States (Hawaiian Is.); Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
Upper elevation limit (metres):2100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Small Asian Mongoose has a relatively large population across its range, and tolerates a wide degree of habitat conversion perhaps preferring degraded habitats in some areas. In mainland Southeast Asia, this species reaches high densities in well-watered naturally open deciduous forests, shrublands and grassy areas as in southern Lao PDR, Viet Nam and much of Cambodia. Given adequate habitat the species is locally common (Le Xuan Canh et al. 1997), and widespread (Robertson et al. in prep.).

Snaring and other trapping pressures keep population numbers low in degraded habitats of large parts of Lao PDR - where the species might, if unmolested, be quite common (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm.). In India, it occurs at low densities and is not as common as Hespestes edwardsii (Shekhar 2003). In Myanmar, where village harvest of small carnivores and other similar-sized mammals seems to be much lower than in Lao PDR and Viet Nam, the species is so common in places that it is trapped by conservation agencies as a pest (Su 2005).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The ecology of the Small Asian Mongoose has been studied in introduced parts of its range (Nellis 1989), but its ecology in its native range is known only to the level of coarse habitat correlations. The species is known to occur in a variety of habitats but appears to prefer well-watered naturally open deciduous forests, shrublands and grasslands (Shekar 2003; J.W. Duckworth pers. comm.). While it tends to avoid closed evergreen forests, it will utilize secondary forest, degraded sites and areas of former evergreen forest opened by logging or similar practices (Lekagul and McNeely 1977; J.W. Duckworth pers. comm.). Where it has been introduced in the West Indies (Pimentel 1955, Nellis and Everard 1983) and the Hawaiian Islands (Baldwin et al. 1952) the species is found in grasslands, crops, and forest of various kinds, coastal areas, and even settled suburbs (Simberloff et al. 2000). It tends to prefer edge habitat in most areas.

This species is terrestrial, seldom climbing trees and feeds, during both the day and the night, on a wide diet, which includes rats, birds, reptiles, frogs, crabs, insects, and even scorpions (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). It produces litters of two to four at short intervals, with a gestation period of about 7 weeks (Lekagul and McNeely 1977).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is often captured and sold as pets (Shekhar 2003) and there is some commercial trade in China, India and Nepal. (A. Choudury pers. comm.). In northern Viet Nam it is hunted and sold in wild meat markets in both Vietnam and China (S. Robertson pers. comm.).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Small Asian Mongoose faces heavy exploitation in localized parts of its range, such as the Mekong Delta, but on the whole appears to be quite common and adaptable. This species is often captured and sold as pets (Shekhar 2003) and there is some commercial trade in China, India and Nepal. (A. Choudury pers. comm.). In northern Viet Nam it is hunted and sold in wild meat markets in both Viet Nam and China (S. Robertson pers. comm.). None of these threats seem to be contributing to the decline of the species globally.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Small Asian Mongoose is listed under CITES Appendix III in India (as Herpestes javanicus auropunctatus) (Wozencraft 2005). It is totally protected in Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand, and was listed as Vulnerable on the Chinese Red List (A1cd). In central India people consider the mongoose to be sacred, and thus it is not killed there (Shekhar 2003).

It occurs inside and outside of several Protected Areas throughout its range (Su 2005).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Marginal  
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Marginal  
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Marginal  
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
suitability: Marginal  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Abe, H., Ishii, N., Ito, T., Kaneko, Y., Maeda, K., Miura, S. and Yoneda, M. 2005. A Guide to the Mammals of Japan. Tokai University Press, Kanagawa, Japan.

Coblentz, B. E. and Coblentz, B. A. 1985. Control of the Indian Mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Biological Conservation 33: 281-288.

Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. 1992. Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: a Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Duckworth, J.W. 1997. Small carnivores in Laos: a status review with notes on ecology, behaviour and conservation. Small Carnivore Conservation 16: 1–21.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 7 September 2015).

Lekagul, B. and McNeely, J.A. 1988. Mammals of Thailand. Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, Bangkok, Thailand.

Le Xuan Canh, Pham Trong Anh, Duckworth, J.W., Vu Ngoc Thanh and Lic Vuthy. 1997. A survey of large mammals in Dak Lak Province, Viet Nam. Unpublished report to IUCN and WWF. Hanoi, Viet Nam.

Lowe, S. J., Browne, M., Boudjelas, S. and De Poorter, M. 2000. One Hundred of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. IUCN/SSC ISSG. Auckland, New Zealand.

Meiri, S. 2005. Small carnivores on small islands: new data based on old skulls. Small Carnivore Conservation 33: 21-23.

Nellis, D. W. 1989. Herpestes auropunctatus. Mammalian Species 342: 1-6.

Pimentel, D. 1955. Biology of the Indian mongoose in Puerto Rico. Journal of Mammalogy 36: 62-68.

Seaman, G. A. and Randall, J. E. 1962. The mongoose as a predator in the Virgin Islands. Journal of Mammalogy 43: 344-345.

Sody, H. J. V. 1949. Notes on some primates, carnivora and the babirusa from the Indo-Malayan and Indo-Australian regions. Treubia 20: 121-190.

Su Su. 2005. Small carnivores and their threats in Hlawga Wildlife Park, Myanmar. Small Carnivore Conservation 33: 6-13.

Taylor, M. E. and Matheson, J. 1999. A craniometric comparison of the African and Asian mongooses in the genus Herpestes (Carnivora: Herpestidae). Mammalia 63: 449-464.

Van Strien, N.J. 2001. Indoaustralian mammals. A taxonomic and faunistic reference and atlas. ETI, Amsterdam.

Veron, G., Patou, M.-L., Pothet, G., Simberloff, D. and Jennings, A. P. 2006. Systematic status and biogeography of the Javan and small Indian mongooses (Herpestidae, Carnivora). Zoologica Scripta 36(1): 1-10.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Wozencraft, C., Duckworth, J.W., Choudury, A., Muddapa, D., Yonzon, P., Kanchanasaka, B., Jennings A. & Veron, G. 2015. Herpestes javanicus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41614A80731810. . Downloaded on 29 June 2016.
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