Malagasy civets are small mammals native to tropical forests of Madagascar. They are the second largest carnivore in Madagascar after the fossa. Malagasy civets have the appearance and movements of a small fox. They have a short coat greyish beige or brown in color, with dark black horizontal stripes running from head to tail, where the stripes are vertical, wrapping around the bushier tail. Near the belly, the stripes morph into spots. Legs of these animals are short and very thin.
Malagasy civets are found in lowland and rainforest areas of Eastern and Northern parts of Madagascar. They can also be found in humid and isolated forests in Amber Mountain National Park, and farther north in the less-humid forests of Ankarana Reserve.
Malagasy civets are nocturnal and generally solitary animals. During the day, they sleep in hollow trees, under fallen logs, or amongst rocks. They are not good climbers and frequent ravines. Malagasy civets are very shy and secretive. Their vocalizations are similar to crying and groaning, as well as a sound similar to coq-coq. Pairs of males and females defend large territories which are marked with scent from anogenital, cheek, and neck glands. During the winter, these animals may store fat in their tail, which can make up 25% of their weight.
Malagasy civets are monogamous which means that males and females have only one partner and form pairs. The breeding season occurs from August to September and the gestation period is around 3 months. Females usually give birth to a single pup. The young are born well-developed and weigh around 65 to 70 grams (2.3 to 2.5 oz). They are weaned in 2-3 months and leave their parents at around one year old.
Malagasy civets are threatened by deforestation, hunting, charcoal production, logging, and competition from introduced species such as dogs, cats, and small Indian civets.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Malagasy civet is unknown. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.