SMALL INDIAN CIVET/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus



DESCRIPTION: The common ring-tailed civet, the Small Indian Civet is buff to grey with dark spots all over its flanks that converge to form three to five lines on its back. The black-and-white ringed tail has 6–10 dark bands and a pale tip. This civet lacks a spinal crest (this and its small size sets it apart from the Large Indian or Malabar Civet) and has a cream throat with two thin, dark bands across it. Its ears are small, rounded and set close to each other on top of the head, more like a cat’s, while its legs are dark and long. The general body proportions, however, are not that of a cat and it has the low-slung, elongated body of a civet. It has a short muzzle with white patches on its cheeks and white spots between the eye that are not very prominent in many individuals.

BEHAVIOUR: Small Indian Civets seem to breed all year round, with 4–5 young. The young are entirely looked after by the female civet and are housed in a small burrow at the bottom of trees or a drainpipe near human habitation. The civet is easily tamed and, historically, was kept in many southern Indian homes as a pet and for yielding ‘civet’. When kept in captivity in this fashion, a stake is put next to the animal on a string. The civet rubs its anal glands on to the stake and the resulting waxy secretion is collected by scraping it off the stake by the houseowners in the morning, for use in medicines and perfumes.

DISTRIBUTION: Throughout India, from the Himalayan foothills to Kanyakumari in the south. V.i. indica in southern India, V.i. baptistae in north–east India, V.i. deserti in northern and central India, and V.i. wellsi in western India.

HABITAT: Inhabits a variety of habitats, including semi-evergreen, deciduous, bamboo and scrub forests, open land, plantations and riverine habitat except wet evergreen forests and mountains. It prefers scrub and dry forests to undisturbed

evergreen patches  (up to 1,200 m). Can live close to habitation and often finds refuge in attics or drainpipes of houses.

 Size: 45–63 cm

IUCN  Status: Least Concern


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