Brown palm civet

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Brown palm civet
Illustration by Joseph Smit (1885)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Viverridae
Genus: Paradoxurus
P. jerdoni
Binomial name
Paradoxurus jerdoni
Blanford, 1885
Jerdon's Palm Civet range.png
Brown palm civet range

The brown palm civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni) [2] also called the Jerdon's palm civet is a palm civet endemic to the Western Ghats of India. [1]



Dentition. The anterior palatine foramina are longer than in other species in the genus. ParadoxurusJerdonDentition.jpg
Dentition. The anterior palatine foramina are longer than in other species in the genus.

The brown palm civet has a uniformly brown pelage, darker around the head, neck, shoulder, legs, and tail. Sometimes the pelage may be slightly grizzled. Two subspecies have been described on the basis of the colour of the pelage although the colour is extremely variable, ranging from pale buff or light brown to dark brown. The dark tail sometimes has a white or pale-yellow tip. It has no distinct markings on the body or the face as in the Asian palm civet. A distinctive feature is the reversed direction of hair growth on the nape, similar to that in the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis) of Sri Lanka. It is about as large as the common palm civet, but with a long and sleek tail. The body weight of the males ranges from 3.6–4.3 kg (7.9–9.5 lb), head and body length 430–620 mm (17–24 in), and tail length from 380–530 mm (15–21 in). [4] [3] [5] The species was described in 1885 on the basis of a skull and pelt obtained in Kodaikanal by Mr F. Levinge and forwarded by Rev. S. B. Fairbank to Blanford. Blanford noted the long foramen on the anterior palate. He also found the pelt matching another specimen collected by Francis Day. Blanford named the species in honour of T. C. Jerdon. [6] The subspecies caniscus was described by Reginald Innes Pocock on the basis of a specimen collected at Virajpet in southern Coorg. [7]

There are two subspecies, the nominate P. j. jerdoni and P. j. caniscus. [2] The Sulawesi palm civet is sometimes referred to by the same English name due to its brown colour. [8]

Distribution and habitat

Brown palm civet in its natural habitat from Munnar, Kerala. MG 1528 Brown Palm Civet Paradoxurus jerdoni Neelakandan Madavana aka Anil.jpg
Brown palm civet in its natural habitat from Munnar, Kerala.

The brown palm civet's distribution extends from the southern tip of Western Ghats in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve to Castle Rock in Goa to the north. [9] They are nocturnal, and not as rare as previously thought and sight records of the species in Kodaikanal and Ootacamund where they were earlier considered to be locally extinct are an indication of their ability to go unnoticed. [4]

The brown palm civet occurs in fragmented landscapes containing remnants of tropical rainforest amid commercially exploited land patches such as tea and coffee plantations. Their ability to persist in such landscapes depends on the occurrence of a diversity of fruit tree species in these areas such as shade trees in coffee plantations. [10]

Ecology and behaviour

Brown palm civet resting in the fork of a tree branch in the Anamalai hills BrownPalmCivet DSC 2101.jpg
Brown palm civet resting in the fork of a tree branch in the Anamalai hills

Brown palm civets are solitary and nocturnal. They rest during the day in day-bed sites, such as tree hollows, canopy vine tangles, Indian giant squirrel nests and forks of branches. The day-bed trees are large and are usually in dense mature forest stands with high canopy connectivity. They sometimes rest in the night in open branches. [11]


Brown palm civet feeding on a fig Brown palm civet.jpg
Brown palm civet feeding on a fig

The brown palm civet is a key mammalian seed disperser in the Western Ghats rainforest by being predominantly frugivorous and dispersing a diverse array of plant species. Fruits form a large proportion (97 per cent) of its diet and more than 53 native and four introduced species of plants have been recorded. The diet patterns vary across years and even within the same year. They adapt to climatic variations in fruit availability by feeding on a diverse range of species of invertebrates and vertebrates. They eat fruits of trees and lianas, rarely those of herbs or shrubs. The diet is mostly composed of small (<1 cm diameter), many seeded, pulpy berries, and drupes with moderate to high water content, along with several large (>2 cm) fruits like Palaquium ellipticum , Elaeocarpus serratus , Holigarna nigra, and Knema attenuata . [12] They have also been recorded feeding on flowers such as those of Cullenia exarillata [13] and Syzygium species. [12]


Because of its large range and presence within several protected areas it has been classified as being of low conservation concern. However, these areas often do not have large mammalian dispersers and birds like hornbills and large pigeons due to habitat loss and hunting. Hence, the brown palm civet gains importance in such human-impacted landscapes as an important disperser and maintains biodiversity. [14]

Related Research Articles

Viverridae family of mammals

Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids, comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Viverrids occur all over Africa, southern Europe, and South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.

Asian palm civet Species of viverrid

The Asian palm civet is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. Since 2008, it is IUCN Red Listed as Least Concern as it accommodates to a broad range of habitats. It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining. In Indonesia, it is threatened by poaching and illegal wildlife trade; buyers use it for the increasing production of kopi luwak, a form of coffee that involves ingestion and excretion of the beans by the animal.

Malabar grey hornbill species of bird

The Malabar grey hornbill is a hornbill endemic to the Western Ghats and associated hills of southern India. They have a large beak but lack the casque that is prominent in some other hornbill species. They are found mainly in dense forest and around rubber, arecanut or coffee plantations. They move around in pairs or small groups, feeding on figs and other forest fruits. Their loud cackling and laughing call makes them familiar to people living in the region.

African civet largest representative of the African Viverridae

The African civet is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry.

Malabar large-spotted civet species of mammal

The Malabar large-spotted civet, also known as the Malabar civet, is a viverrid endemic to the Western Ghats of India. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List as the population is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals. It has not been recorded during surveys carried out between 1990 and 2014. In the early 1990s, isolated populations still survived in less disturbed areas of South Malabar but were seriously threatened by habitat destruction and hunting outside protected areas.

<i>Paradoxurus</i> genus of mammals

Paradoxurus is a genus of three palm civets within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. The Paradoxurus species have a broad head, a narrow muzzle with a large rhinarium that is deeply sulcate in the middle. Their large ears are rounded at the tip. The tail is nearly as long as the head and body.

Hoses palm civet species of mammal

Hose's palm civet, also known as Hose's civet, is a viverrid species endemic to the island of Borneo. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable because of an ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations and suspected to be more than 30% in the next three generations due to declines in population inferred from habitat destruction and degradation.

Small Indian civet Species of mammal

The small Indian civet 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.

Nilgiri marten Animal species

The Nilgiri marten is the only marten species native to southern India. It lives in the hills of the Nilgiris and parts of the Western Ghats. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Malabar spiny dormouse species of mammal

The Malabar spiny dormouse is a species of muroid rodent endemic to the Western Ghats of India. It is the only extant species in the genus Platacanthomys and although resembling a dormouse, it is not closely related. About the size of a brown rat, this arboreal species lives in tree holes in dense forest habitats in a small family group. They are distinguishable from other species in the area by their bushy tuft tip to the tail and the spiny fur on the back.

Banded palm civet species of mammal

The banded palm civet, also called banded civet, is a viverrid native to Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, peninsular Thailand and the Sunda Islands of Sipura, Sumatra and Borneo. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because of its large geographic and elevation range and tolerance to some habitat disturbance.

Golden palm civet species of mammal

The golden palm civet is a palm civet endemic to Sri Lanka. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Its distribution is severely fragmented, and the extent and quality of its habitat in Sri Lanka's hill regions are declining.

Endangered mammals of India are the mammal species in India that are listed as threatened in the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Animals

Paradoxurinae subfamily of mammals, the viverrids

The Paradoxurinae are a subfamily of the viverrids that was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864. Pocock subordinated the oriental genera Paradoxurus, Paguma and Arctictis to this subfamily.

Binturong Species of mammal in the family Viverridae, native to South and Southeast Asia

The binturong, also known as bearcat, is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. It is uncommon in much of its range, and has been assessed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because of a declining population trend that is estimated at more than 30% since the mid 1980s.

<i>Paradoxurus aureus</i> species of mammal

Paradoxurus aureus, the golden palm civet, also called golden paradoxurus and golden wet-zone palm civet is a viverrid species native to Sri Lanka. It was first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822.

Paradoxurus montanus, the Sri Lankan brown palm civet, is a viverrid species endemic to Sri Lanka where it is known as ශ්‍රී ලංකා බොර කලවැද්දා in Sinhala. Until 2009, it was considered as the same species as the golden palm civet, but proposed to be given specific rank.

<i>Cullenia exarillata</i> species of plant

Cullenia exarillata is a flowering plant evergreen tree species in the family Malvaceae endemic to the rainforests of the southern Western Ghats in India. It is one of the characteristic trees of the mid-elevation tropical wet evergreen rainforests and an important food plant for the endemic primate, the lion-tailed macaque.


  1. 1 2 Mudappa, D.; Choudhury, A. & Punjabi, G.A. (2016). "Paradoxurus jerdoni". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2016: e.T16104A45201757. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  2. 1 2 Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Paradoxurus jerdoni". 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. 551. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  3. 1 2 Blanford, W. T. (1885). "A Monograph of the Genus Paradoxurus, F. Cuvier". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 53: 780–808. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1885.tb02921.x.
  4. 1 2 Rajamani N.; Mudappa, D. & Van Rompaey, H. (2002). "Distribution and status of the Brown Palm Civet in the Western Ghats, South India" (PDF). Small Carnivore Conservation. 27: 6–11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011.
  5. Blanford, W.T. (1888–91). Fauna of British India. Mammalia. Taylor and Francis, London. pp. 111–112.
  6. Blanford, W.T. (1855). "Exhibition and description of a skull of an apparently new Species of Paradoxurus (Paradoxurus jerdoni)". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 612–613.
  7. Pocock, R.I. (1933). "The Palm Civets or 'Toddy Cats' of the genera Paradoxurus and Paguma inhabiting British India". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 36: 856–877.
  8. Wilson D.E.; Mittermeier, R.A., eds. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 1. Carnivores. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.
  9. Kinnear, N. B. (1913). "The Brown Palm-Civet in North Kanara". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 22: 390.
  10. Mudappa, D.; Noon, B.R.; Kumar, A. & Chellam, R. (2007). "Responses of small carnivores to rainforest fragmentation in the southern Western Ghats, India" (PDF). Small Carnivore Conservation. 36: 18–26. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011.
  11. Mudappa, D. (2006). "Day-bed choice by the brown palm civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni) in the Western Ghats, India". Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 71 (4): 238–243. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2006.01.003.
  12. 1 2 Mudappa, D.; Kumar, A. & Chellam, R. (2010). "Diet and fruit choice of the brown palm civet Paradoxurus jerdoni, a viverrid endemic to the Western Ghats rainforest, India" (PDF). Tropical Conservation Science. 3 (3): 282–300.
  13. Ganesh, T. & Davidar, P. (1997). "Flowering phenology and flower predation of Cullenia exarillata (Bombacaceae) by arboreal vertebrates in Western Ghats, India". J. Tropical Ecology. 13: 459–468. doi:10.1017/S0266467400010622.
  14. Ashraf, N.V.K.; Kumar, A. & Johnsingh, A.J.T. (1993). "Two endemic viverrids of the Western Ghats, India". Oryx. 27: 109–114. doi:10.1017/S0030605300020640.