Small Indian civet

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Small Indian civet
Viverricula indica schlegelii 1868.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Viverridae
Subfamily: Viverrinae
Genus: Viverricula
Hodgson, 1838
Species: V. indica
Binomial name
Viverricula indica
Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803
Small Indian Civet area.png
Small Indian civet range
(green - extant,
pink - probably extant)

The small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) is a civet found in South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern by IUCN because of its widespread geographical distribution, widespread habitat use and healthy populations living in agricultural and secondary landscapes of many range states.[1]

The small Indian civet is a monotypic genus.[2]


The small Indian civet is 21 to 23 in (53 to 58 cm) in head and body size and has a rather coarse fur that is brownish grey to pale yellowish brown, with usually several longitudinal black or brown bands on the back and longitudinal rows of spots on the sides. In some specimens both lines and spots are indistinct, and the dorsal bands are occasionally wanting. Usually there are five or six distinct bands on the back and four or five rows of spots on each side. The neck markings are rather variable. Generally there are two dark stripes from behind the ear to the shoulders, and often a third in front, crossing the throat. The underfur is brown or grey, often grey on the upper parts of the body and brown on the lower. The grey hairs on the upper parts are often tipped with black. The head is grey or brownish grey, the chin often brown. The ears are short and rounded with a dusky mark behind each ear, and one in front of each eye. The feet are brown or black. The tapering tail is 15 to 17 in (38 to 43 cm) long with alternating black and whitish rings, seven to nine of each colour.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Small Indian civets are known to occur in south and central China, Hong Kong, most of India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. No search has been made for recent records from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Peninsular Malaysia, Java or Bali, areas where they were historically recorded. Their current status in Singapore is unclear.[1] They have been introduced to Madagascar.[3]

Small Indian civets have been recorded in semi-evergreen and deciduous forest, mixed deciduous forest, bamboo forest, scrubby areas, grasslands and riverine habitat.[4][5][6]

Distribution of subspecies[edit]

Ecology and behavior[edit]

Small Indian civets are nocturnal, mostly terrestrial and insectivorous.[5] They inhabit holes in the ground, under rocks or in thick bush.[2]


They feed on rats, mice, birds, snakes, fruit, roots and carrion.[3] Occasionally they carry off poultry.[2][6]


The female has usually four or five young at a birth.[2] The life span is eight to nine years.[3]


People of Traspur village in Assam hunt it for meat and purify its skin into medicine.[citation needed]


Viverricula indica is listed on CITES Appendix III.[1] In Myanmar, it is totally protected under the Wildlife Act of 1994.[6]

Taxonomic notes[edit]

Viverricula rasse described by Horsfield from Java is considered a variety of Viverricula indica.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Duckworth, J. W., Timmins, R. J. and Muddapa, D. (2008). "Viverricula indica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Blanford, W. T. (1888–91). Genus Viverricula Hodgson. Pages 100–101 in: The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. Taylor and Francis, London.
  3. ^ a b c Lekalul, B. and McNeely, J. A. (1977). Mammals of Thailand. Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, Bangkok.
  4. ^ Duckworth, J. W. (1997). Small carnivores in Laos: a status review with notes on ecology, behaviour and conservation. Small Carnivore Conservation 16: 1–21.
  5. ^ a b Mudappa, D. (2002). Observations of small carnivores in the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 27: 4–5.
  6. ^ a b c Su Su. (2005). Small carnivores and their threats in Hlawga Wildlife Park, Myanmar. Small Carnivore Conservation 33: 6–13.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Pocock, R. I. (1939). Genus Viverricula Hodgson. Pages 362–376 in: The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1Taylor and Francis, London.
  8. ^ Ellerman, J. R., Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. (1966). Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian mammals 1758 to 1946. Second edition. British Museum of Natural History, London. Pp. 282–283.
  9. ^ Sody, H. J. V. (1931). Six new mammals from Sumatra, Java, Bali and Borneo. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indië 91: 349–360.
  10. ^ Horsfield, T. (1851). A catalogue of the Mammalia in the Museum of the Hon. East-India Company. J. & H. Cox, London.

External links[edit]