Herpestes javanicus | Small Asian mongoose



Conservation status

Least concern

Legal status

Regulated invasive species of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species [1143/2014].

Introduction pathways - 1

Release in Nature

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Biological control

Introduction pathways - 2

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 2

Pet/aquarium species

NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Small mammal with slender body and short legs. Pointed head and small ears. Thick muscular tail. Fur is short and ranges in colour from pale to dark brown with gold flecking. The body is paler underneath. Eyes are amber or brown in adults and blue green in juveniles. Males are larger, stockier and have a wider head (Csurhes & Fisher, 2010).


An opportunistic carnivore, it eats a wide range of foods including mammals, birds, eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fruit though it is mainly an insectivore (Lutz, 2003). Has caused the extinction of many bird, reptile, amphibian and mammal species in its introduced range (European Commission, 2015) particularly on islands (Csurhes & Fisher, 2010). Mainly terrestrial, seldom climbs trees (European Commission, 2015). Usually lives for 3-4 years in the wild (GISD, 2015). Diurnal (Lutz, 2003). Is a vector for Leptospirosis and rabies (GISD, 2015). No natural predators (Csurhes & Fisher, 2010).


Females are sexually mature at 10 months, males at 4 months (Lutz, 2003). Breeds 2-3 times per year. Generally, 3 young per litter (GISD, 2015). Gestation 42-50 days (GISD, 2015). Young weaned at 5 weeks (GISD, 2015).

Pathway and vector description

Originally introduced to control rodents in sugar cane crops. The opportunistic Herpestes javanicus readily established and began to predate a wide range of other available wildlife. The only realistic pathway into Europe is by means of human intervention, mainly the pet trade (European Commission, 2015).

Mechanism of impact

Predation, Disease transmission

Management approach

There is currently an EU wide ban on the sale of this species and personal and zoo ownership is being phased out (European Commission, 2017).

Has proved difficult to eradicate with few successes (Roy et al., 2002).


Readily trapped. This method is labour intensive and requires an ongoing commitment as the area is recolonised very quickly after trapping ceases (Roy et al., 2003).


Poison can be used but methods need to be improved to avoid killing non-target species (Roy et al., 2003).

Broad environment


Habitat description

Occupies a diverse range but prefers arid or semi-arid habitats. Can be found in woodland, agricultural areas, riparian zones, wetlands, deserts, coastal areas, landfill and urban areas (GISD, 2015).

Species group


Native region

Temperate Asia, Tropical Asia


World distribution(GBIF)

In the EU it is currently naturalised in Croatia but nowhere else. It has been introduced to many tropical islands, islands in the Adriatic and to South America (GISD, 2015).

Native distribution

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam (GISD, 2015).

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

How can you help

Do not purchase. Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.



Csurhes, S & Fisher, P (2010). Invasive animal risk assessement. Herpestes javanicus – Indian Mongoose. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland Biosecurity. Queensland Government (2016). Site accessed 28 September 2017.

European Commission (2017). Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern. European Union, Luxembourg.

European Commission (2015). Herpestes javanicus. EU non-native species risk analysis (risk assessment prepared for Europe).

Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) (2015). Species profile Herpestes javanicus  Site accessed 28 September 2017.

Lutz, J. (2003) Herpestes javanicus (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Site accessed 28 September 2017.

Roy, S. S., C. G. Jones and S. Harris (2002) An ecological basis for control of mongoose Herpestes javanicus in Mauritius: is eradication possible? In Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species: 266-273. Veitch, C.R. and Clout, M.N.(eds). IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. IUCN. Gland. Switzerland and Cambridge. UK. Site accessed 28 September 2017.

CABI Datasheet

Additional comments

It is regarded as a pest in much of its introduced range and it is listed as one of the '100 worst' invaders by the IUCN.

The Irish climate is currently likely to be unsuitable for establishment of this species (European Commission, 2015).