Large Indian Civet
The Large Indian civet is native to South and Southeast Asia. It has a large body that is gray or brown. There are black spots on its body and stripes of black and white on the sides of its neck, usually two white stripes with three black stripes. Its tail has several black rings around it. The males are slightly bigger than the females.
The large Indian civet inhabits scrub, grasslands, and densely forested areas in South and Southeast Asia (India, Nepal, Bhutan, southern China and Bangladesh). This species uses a wide variety of wooded habitats, both evergreen and deciduous, and primary and degraded, as well as grasslands, scrubland and plantations (including those of tea). It is often found near human habitations.
Habits and lifestyle
A Large Indian civet is solitary and nocturnal. It is terrestrial and can also climb. It lives in a hole in the ground that another animal has dug. It marks its territory with its glandular secretions, in order to communicate its presence and identify territory. Whether large Indian civets defend territory is not known. They travel extensively, average daily and monthly distances estimated as being from 1.7 km to 5.4 sq km.
Diet and nutrition
Large Indian civets are carnivorous, preying on birds, frogs, snakes, chickens, hens and small mammals. They also eat fruit, eggs, roots, fish and crabs.
Little is known about the mating and reproductive behavior of large Indian civets. Breeding takes place at any time of the year. Females bear two litters each year of up to four young in each. Litters are born in very dense vegetation or in a hole in the ground. Young are able to open their eyes within ten days. Weaning starts at one month of age. Mothers raise their young on their own.
Habitat degradation and loss are major threats for this species. Hunting, mainly for food but also for scent glands, is also a big threat in Southeast Asia, probably being the same almost throughout its range.
According to IUCN, the Large Indian civet is considered common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), but its numbers today are decreasing.
As predators, they may have an influence on the numbers of their prey species.
Fun facts for kids
- Civets produce a musk (which is also called civet), being highly valued as a stabilizing agent and fragrance for perfume.
- Civets have 40 teeth and five digits on each of their paws with non-retractable claws.
- Civets like palm flower sap. When fermented, this becomes 'toddy', or sweet liquor.
- In India, the Ahmedabad Zoo keeps a small number of Indian civets, formerly for the purpose of collecting their glandular secretions.
- For a carnivorous animal, the Large Indian civet lives in an unusually high density.