|Small Indian civet|
|In Silchar, Assam, India|
Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803
|Small Indian civet range|
(green - extant,
pink - probably extant)
The small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) is a civet native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List because of its widespread distribution, widespread habitat use and healthy populations living in agricultural and secondary landscapes of many range states.
The small Indian civet 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. Usually there are five or six distinct bands on the back and four or five rows of spots on each side. Some have indistinct lines and spots, with the dorsal bands wanting. Generally there are two dark stripes from behind the ear to the shoulders, and often a third in front, crossing the throat. Its 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. Its tail has alternating black and whitish rings, seven to nine of each colour. It is 53–58 cm (21–23 in) from head to body with a 38–43 cm (15–17 in) long tapering tail.
Distribution and habitat
The Small Indian civet occurs in most of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, south and central China, and Taiwan. Recent records are not known in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Peninsular Malaysia, Java and Bali, where it was historically recorded. Its current status in Singapore is unclear.
In 2008, a small Indian civet was recorded for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir’s Dachigam National Park. This site was located at an altitude of 1,770 m (5,810 ft) in a riverine forest. In northeast India, it was recorded up to an altitude of 2,500 m (8,200 ft). In Tamil Nadu’s Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, it was recorded foremost in grassland, riverine areas and sighted near a tea plantation during surveys in 2002. In India's Western Ghats, small Indian civets were observed in Tamil Nadu's Anamalai and Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserves, and in Kerala’s Parambikulam and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuaries during surveys in 2008. In Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, it was recorded in deciduous, semi-evergreen and thorn forests, and in the dry season also at a water hole near a village.
In Myanmar, it was recorded in mixed deciduous and bamboo forests in Hlawga National Park. In Hukawng Valley, it was recorded in grasslands and edges of forests at 240–580 m (790–1,900 ft) altitude during surveys between 2001 and 2003. In Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, it was also recorded in a close tall forest in 1999.
In Thailand, small Indian civets were recorded in Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai National Parks, in evergreen gallery forest of Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, in secondary and dipterocarp forest of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, and in Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary at 700–900 m (2,300–3,000 ft) altitude in deciduous forest.
In Laos, small Indian civets were recorded in a variety of habitats including semi-evergreen and deciduous forest, mixed deciduous forest, bamboo forest, scrubby areas, grasslands and riverine habitat. In Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains, small Indian civets were recorded in deciduous dipterocarp forests, often close to water bodies and in marshes during surveys conducted between 2000 and 2009. Records in eastern Cambodia were obtained mostly in semi-evergreen forest in Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and Mondulkiri Protected Forest, but also in deciduous diptertocarp forests in Siem Pang Protected Forest, Snoul Wildlife Sanctuary, Virachey National Park and Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary.
Occurrence in East Africa
The Small Indian civet was introduced to Madagascar. Feral small Indian civets were recorded in Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar, in an unprotected dry deciduous forest near Mariarano in northwestern Madagascar, and in Masoala−Makira protected areas in the island's northeast. It was also introduced to Pemba Island and Mafia Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago, where it used to be kept for its musk, which is added to traditional African medicine and as a scent to perfume.
Behaviour and ecology
Small Indian civets are nocturnal, mostly terrestrial and insectivorous. They inhabit holes in the ground, under rocks or in thick bush. Occasionally, pairs are formed (for mating and hunting). In areas not disturbed by humans, they have been reported to sometimes also hunt by day. Small Indian civets are primarily terrestrial, though they also climb well. Individuals sleep in burrows or hollow logs. They can dig their own burrows, but also occupy abandoned burrows of other species. In suburban habitats they use gutters or other hollow, dark spaces as makeshift burrows.
The female has usually four or five young at a birth. Captive small Indian civets in Kerala were observed to mate in March to May and October to December. Mean gestation lasts 65 to 69 days. Kittens weigh between 90 and 110 g (3.2 and 3.9 oz) at birth and open their eyes after five days. They reach 1,000 g (35 oz) at the age of ten weeks. The life span in captivity is eight to nine years.
Taxonomy and evolution
Civetta indica was the scientific name given to the species by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1803 when he described a small Indian civet skin from India in the collection of the French Museum d'Histoire Naturelle. Viverricula was the generic name introduced by Brian Houghton Hodgson in 1838 when he described new mammal genera and species collected in Nepal. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the following scientific names were proposed:
- Viverra rasse by Thomas Horsfield in 1824 was a zoological specimen collected in Java. It was later considered a variety of Viverricula indica.
- Viverra pallida by John Edward Gray in 1831 was a pale civet skin from an inexplicit location in China.
- Viverra bengalensis by Gray and Thomas Hardwicke in 1832 was the caption of a coloured drawing of a civet.
- Viverra schlegelii by Francis P. L. Pollen in 1866 was a small Indian civet that Pollen collected in the Malagasy Department of Mayotte.
- Viverricula malaccensis deserti by J. Lewis Bonhote in 1898 was a specimen collected near Sambhar, Rajasthan.
- Viverricula malaccensis thai by Cecil Boden Kloss in 1919 was a female specimen collected in central Thailand.
- Viverricula malaccensis atchinensis by Henri Jacob Victor Sody in 1931 was a male specimen collected in Aceh, northern Sumatra.
- Viverricula malaccensis baliensis by Sody in 1931 was a male specimen from Bali.
- Viverricula malaccensis muriavensis also by Sody in 1931 was also a male specimen collected near Keling north of Gunung Muria in Central Java.
- Viverricula indica mayori by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1933 was a civet skin from Maha Oya that was part of a collection of civet skins and skulls from Sri Lanka.
- Viverricula indica baptistæ also by Pocock in 1933 was a civet skin from Hasimara in the Bhutan Dooars that differed slightly in colour from other civet skins collected in Bengal and Assam.
- Viverricula indica wellsi by Pocock in 1933 was a richly tinted civet skin from Kangra district in northwestern India.
- V. indica klossi by Pocock in 1933 was a dark brown skin of an adult female civet from Penang in Malay Peninsula.
- V. i. indica — the nominate subspecies is thought to occur in Southern India from the Western to the Eastern Ghats and as far north as Lake Chilka on the east coast
- V. i. schlegelii — is considered to occur in Madagascar
- V. i. deserti — in Rajasthan
- V. i. wellsi — in Punjab, Kumaon division and United Provinces of British India
- V. i. baptistæ — in Bhutan and Assam
- V. i. thai — in Myanmar, Thailand, and Indochina
- V. i. klossi— in southern Myanmar and Malay Peninsula
- V. i. mayori — in Sri Lanka
- V. i. pallida — in southern China
- V. i. atchinensis — in Sumatra
- V. i. baliensis — in Bali
- V. i. muriavensis — in Java
A phylogenetic study showed that the small Indian civet is closely related to the genera Civettictis and Viverra. It was estimated that the Civettictis-Viverra clade diverged from Viverricula around 16.2 million years ago. The authors suggested that the subfamily Viverrinae should be bifurcated into Genettinae including Poiana and Genetta, and Viverrinae including Civettictis, Viverra and Viverricula. The following cladogram is based on this study.
- Choudhury, A.; Duckworth, J.W.; Timmins, R.; Chutipong, W.; Willcox, D.H.A.; Rahman, H.; Ghimirey, Y.; Mudappa, D. (2015). "Viverricula indica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T41710A45220632. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T41710A45220632.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
- Blanford, W. T. (1888–91). "Genus Viverricula Hodgson". The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 100–101.
- Lamichhane, B. R.; Pokheral, C. P.; Khatiwada, A. P.; Mishra, R.; Subedi, N. (2014). "A Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula carrying a Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica" (PDF). Small Carnivore Conservation (51): 46–50.[dead link]
- Charoo, S. A.; Sharma, L. K.; Sathyakumar, S.; Naqash, R. Y. (2010). "First record of Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica in the Kashmir Himalaya, India". Small Carnivore Conservation (43): 42–43.
- Choudhury, A. (2013). The Mammals of North East India. Guwahati: Gibbon Books and the Rhino Foundation for Nature in NE India. ISBN 9789380652023.
- Mudappa, D. (2002). "Observations of small carnivores in the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India" (PDF). Small Carnivore Conservation (27): 4–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- Pillay, R. (2009). "Observation of small carnivores in the southern Western Ghats, India". Small Carnivore Conservation (40): 36–40.
- Kalle, R.; Ramesh, T.; Sankar, K.; Qureshi, Q. (2013). "Observations of sympatric small carnivores in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India". Small Carnivore Conservation (49): 53–59.
- Su Su (2005). "Small carnivores and their threats in Hlawga Wildlife Park, Myanmar" (PDF). Small Carnivore Conservation (33): 6–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- Su Su; Sale, J. B. (2007). "Niche differentiation between Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus and Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica in regenerating degraded forest, Myanmar". Small Carnivore Conservation (36): 30–34.
- Than Zaw; Saw Htun; Saw Htoo Tha Po; Myint Maung; Lynam, A. J.; Kyaw Thinn Latt; Duckworth, J. W. (2008). "Status and distribution of small carnivores in Myanmar". Small Carnivore Conservation (38): 2–28.
- Chutipong, W.; Tantipisanuh, N.; Ngoprasert, D.; Lynam, A. J.; Steinmetz, R.; Jenks, K. E.; Grassman, Jr. L. I.; Tewes, M.; Kitamura, S.; Baker, M. C.; McShea, W.; Bhumpakphan, N.; Sukmasuang, R.; Gale, G. A.; Harich, F. K.; Treydte, A. C.; Cutter, P.; Cutter, P. B.; Suwanrat, S.; Siripattaranukul, K.; Hala-Bala Wildlife Research Station, Wildlife Research Division; Duckworth, J. W. (2014). "Current distribution and conservation status of small carnivores in Thailand: a baseline review" (PDF). Small Carnivore Conservation (51): 96–136.[dead link]
- Duckworth, J. W. (1997). "Small carnivores in Laos: a status review with notes on ecology, behaviour and conservation" (PDF). Small Carnivore Conservation (16): 1–21.
- Holden, J.; Neang, T. (2009). "Small carnivore records from the Cardamom Mountains, southwestern Cambodia". Small Carnivore Conservation (40): 16–21.
- Gray, T. N. E.; Pin C.; Phan C.; Crouthers, R.; Kamler, J. F.; Prum, S. (2014). "Camera-trap records of small carnivores from eastern Cambodia, 1999–2013". Small Carnivore Conservation (50): 20–24.
- Suzuki, A.; Thong, S.; Tan, S.; Iwata, A. (2017). "Camera trapping of large mammals in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary, northern Cambodia" (PDF). Cambodian Journal of Natural History. 2017 (1): 63–75.
- Lau, M. W. N.; Fellowes, J. R.; Chan, B. P. L. (2010). "Carnivores (Mammalia: Carnivora) in South China: a status review with notes on the commercial trade". Mammal Review. 40 (42): 247–292. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.2010.00163.x.
- Gerber, B.; Karpanty, S. M.; Crawford, C.; Kotschwar, M. (2010). "An assessment of carnivore relative abundance and density in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar using remotely-triggered camera traps". Oryx. 44 (2): 219–222. doi:10.1017/S0030605309991037.
- Evans, B.; Rakotondraparany, F.; Cole, L.; Graham, S.; Long, P.; Gandola, R. (2013). "The carnivores of Mariarano forest, Madagascar: first insights". Small Carnivore Conservation (49): 15−19.
- Farris, Z. J.; Gerber, B. D.; Karpanty, S.; Murphy, A.; Andrianjakarivelo, V.; Ratelolahy, F.; Kelly, M. J. (2015). "When carnivores roam: temporal patterns and overlap among Madagascar's native and exotic carnivores" (PDF). Journal of Zoology. 296 (1): 45–57. doi:10.1111/jzo.12216.
- Walsh, M. T. (2007). "Island subsistence: hunting, trapping and the translocation of wildlife in the Western Indian Ocean" (PDF). Azania: Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. 42 (1): 83−113. doi:10.1080/00672700709480452. S2CID 162594865.[dead link]
- Kock, D.; Stanley, W. T. (2009). "Mammals of Mafia Island, Tanzania". Mammalia. 73 (4): 339–352. doi:10.1515/MAMM.2009.046. S2CID 83780678.
- Nowak, R M.; Walker, E. P. (2005). Walker's Carnivores of the World. JHU Press. p. 187. ISBN 9780801880339.
- Lekalul, B. and McNeely, J. A. (1977). Mammals of Thailand. Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, Bangkok.
- Balakrishnan, M. & Sreedevi, M. (2007). "Captive breeding of the Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803)". Small Carnivore Conservation (36): 5–8.
- Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, E. (1803). "La Civette de l'Inde". Catalogue des Mammifères du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris: Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. p. 113.
- Hodgson, B. H. (1838). "Classified Catalogue of Nepalese Mammalia". Annals of Natural History. 1 (2): 152−154.
- Horsfield, T. (1824). "Viverra Rasse". Zoological Researches in Java, and the neighbouring Islands. London: Printed for Kingsbury, Parbury, & Allen. pp. 160–166.
- Horsfield, T. (1851). "Viverricula Rasse". A catalogue of the Mammalia in the Museum of the Hon. East-India Company. London: J. & H. Cox. p. 59−60.
- Gray, J. E. (1831). "Description of two new Species of Mammalia, one forming a genus intermediate between Viverra and Ictides". The Zoological Miscellany. London: Treuttel, Wurtz and Co. p. 17.
- Gray, J. E. (1832). "Bengal Civet Viverra bengalensis". Illustrations of Indian zoology; chiefly selected from the collection of Major-General Hardwicke. London: Treuttel, Wurtz, Treuttel, Jun. and Richter. pp. Plate 4.
- Pollen, F. (1866). "Communications from Dr. H. Schlegel, on Mammals and Birds collected in Madagascar". Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London: 419.
- Pollen, F. P. L. (1868). "Chapitre IV". Recherches sur la Faune de Madagascar et de ses dépendances [Research on the Fauna of Madagascar and its dependencies]. Leyde: J. K. Steenhoff. pp. 85−125.
- Bonhote, J. L. (1898). "On the species of the Genus Viverricula". The Annals and Magazine of Natural History; Zoology, Botany, and Geology. Series 7 Volume 1 (2): 119−122. doi:10.1080/00222939808677937.
- Kloss, C. B. (1919). "On Mammals collected in Siam". The Journal of the Natural History Society of Siam. 3 (4): 333−407.
- Sody, H. J. V. (1931). "Six new mammals from Sumatra, Java, Bali and Borneo". Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indië. 91: 349–360.
- Pocock, R. I. (1933). "The Civet Cats of Asia". The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 36 (3): 632−656.
- Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Viverricula indica". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 559. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Pocock, R. I. (1939). "Genus Viverricula Hodgson". The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 362–376.
- Ellerman, J. R.; Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. (1966). "Genus Viverricula Hodgson". Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian mammals 1758 to 1946 (Second ed.). London: British Museum of Natural History. pp. 282–283.
- Gaubert, P.; Cordeiro-Estrela, P. (2006). "Phylogenetic systematics and tempo of evolution of the Viverrinae (Mammalia, Carnivora, Viverridae) within feliformians: implications for faunal exchanges between Asia and Africa" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 41 (2): 266–278. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.034. PMID 16837215.
- "Raising Small Indian civet (Viverricula indica)". www.vietlinh.vn.