The Small Indian civet is a species of civet native to South and Southeast Asia. It has a coarse brownish grey to pale yellowish brown fur, with 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. There are also two dark stripes from behind the ear to the shoulders, and often a third in front, crossing the throat. Its underfur is often grey on the upper parts of the body and brown on the lower. 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 color.
Small Indian civets occur in most of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Viet Nam, south and central China, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Peninsular Malaysia, and Nepal. These animals live in a wide range of habitats, including grasslands and savannah, riverine areas and near a tea plantation, marshes, deciduous, semi-evergreen, thorn and bamboo forests, scrubby areas, and near villages.
Small Indian civets are nocturnal and mostly terrestrial animals. Their homes are holes in the ground, under rocks or in thick bush. 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. Occasionally, pairs are seen during the mating season and hunting their food. In areas not disturbed by humans, these civets may sometimes hunt during the day. Small Indian civets spend most of the time on the ground but they also climb well. As they are solitary creatures the main way to communicate with each other is scent marking which also warns other Small Indian civets of territory boundaries.
Little is known about the mating system in Small Indian civets. In some areas, the breeding season can occur throughout the year while in other areas it's seasonal. Females usually give birth to 2-5 pups which are weaned at 4 to 4.5 months after birth.
The main threats to Small Indian civets include hunting and trapping. These animals are used for different reasons. Small Indian civets are hunted for their skins and gland secretion which is called a "civet" musk; this ingredient is widely used in perfumes, medicine, and other industries. They are also used as snaring, for domestic consumption and are sold into the urban and international wildlife trade.
According to the IUCN Red List, the Small Indian civet is abundant and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.