Malagasy civet

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Malagasy civet
Spotted fanaloka (Fossa fossana).jpg
at Ranomafana National Park
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Eupleridae
Genus: Fossa
Gray, 1864 [2]
F. fossana
Binomial name
Fossa fossana
(Müller, 1776) [2]
Fossa fossana range.png
Malagasy civet range [1]

The Malagasy or striped civet (Fossa fossana), also known as the fanaloka (Malagasy, [fə̥ˈnaluk] ) or jabady, [3] is an euplerid endemic to Madagascar. [4]


The Malagasy civet is a small mammal, about 47 centimetres (19 in) long excluding the tail (which is only about 20 centimetres (7.9 in)). It can weigh 1.5 to 2.0 kilograms (3.3 to 4.4 lb). It is endemic to the tropical forests of Madagascar. Malagasy civets are nocturnal. It eats small vertebrates, insects, aquatic animals, and eggs stolen from birds' nests. The mating season of the Malagasy civet is August to September and the gestation period is three months, ending with the birth of one young. The Malagasy Civet is listed as Vulnerable by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). [5]


The Malagasy civet was to be placed in the subfamily Hemigalinae with the banded palm civets and then in its own subfamily, Fossinae, because of similarities with others in the group pointed out by Gregory, but it is now classified as a member of the subfamily Euplerinae, after Pocock pointed out more similarities with that one. [6]

Physical description

The Malagasy civet is a small mammal, about 47 centimetres (19 in) long excluding the tail (which is only about 20 centimetres (7.9 in)). The males can weigh up to 1.9 kilograms (4.2 lb), and the females can weigh up to 1.75 kilograms (3.9 lb). It is the second largest carnivore in Madagascar after the fossa. [7] Its head is about It has the appearance and movements of a small fox. [8] it may be confused with the small Indian civet (Viverricula indica). [9] It has a short coat greyish beige or brown in colour, with dark black horizontal stripes running from head to tail, where the stripes are vertical, wrapping around the bushier tail. The stripes morph into spots near the belly. Its legs are short and very thin. [9]


The Malagasy civet is nocturnal, though sources disagree over whether it is solitary or, unusual among euplerids, lives in pairs. It is not a good climber and frequents ravines. It eats small vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, and amphibians), insects, aquatic animals, and eggs stolen from birds' nests. [10] It is shy and secretive. [11] Their vocalizations are similar to crying and groaning, as well as a sound similar to coq-coq. Pairs of males and females defend a large area (around 50 hectares (120 acres)) as their territory. [12] In the winter, it may store fat in its tail, which can make up 25% of their weight. [7] [13] The mating season of the Malagasy civet is August to September and the gestation period is around three months, ending with the birth of one young. The young are rather well-developed, weigh around 65 to 70 grams (2.3 to 2.5 oz), and are weaned in two to three months, leaving their parents at around one year old. The average lifespan of a Malagasy civet is about 21 years in captivity. [1] [14] [15]

Distribution and habitat

The Malagasy civet is found in lowland and rainforest areas of Eastern and Northern areas of Madagascar, and 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. It can be found from sea level to 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, but is only common up to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level. [1] [9]

Conservation status

The Malagasy civet is listed as Vulnerable by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with a decreasing population. Though threatened by deforestation, hunting, charcoal production, logging, and competition from introduced species such as dogs, cats, and small Indian civets, it is locally common. Introduced animals such as dogs are likely to prey of Malagasy civets. [1] Its range is now reduced to isolated patches. [15]

Related Research Articles

Fossa may refer to:

Fossa (animal) Cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar

The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar. It is a member of the Eupleridae, a family of carnivorans closely related to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). Its classification has been controversial because its physical traits resemble those of cats, yet other traits suggest a close relationship with viverrids. Its classification, along with that of the other Malagasy carnivores, influenced hypotheses about how many times mammalian carnivores have colonized Madagascar. With genetic studies demonstrating that the fossa and all other Malagasy carnivores are most closely related to each other, carnivorans are now thought to have colonized the island once, around 18 to 20 million years ago.

Grandidiers mongoose species of mammal

Grandidier's mongoose, also known as the giant-striped mongoose or Grandidier's vontsira, is a small carnivoran that lives only in a very small area of southwestern Madagascar, in areas of spiny forest vegetation. It is pale brown or grayish coloured, with eight wide, dark stripes on its back and sides. Grandidier's mongoose is larger than the related broad-striped Malagasy mongoose, G. fasciata, and its stripes are not as wide. The species is named after Alfred Grandidier.

Eastern falanouc species of mammal

The eastern falanouc is a rare mongoose-like mammal in the carnivoran family Eupleridae endemic to Madagascar.

Fauna of Madagascar

The fauna of Madagascar is a part of the wildlife of Madagascar.

Madagascar dry deciduous forests Global 200 ecoregion

The Madagascar dry deciduous forests represent a tropical dry forest ecoregion situated in the western and northern part of Madagascar. The area has high numbers of endemic plant and animal species but has suffered large-scale clearance for agriculture. They are among the world's richest and most distinctive dry forests and included in the Global 200 ecoregions by the World Wide Fund. The area is also home to distinctive limestone karst formations known as tsingy, including the World Heritage Site of Bemaraha.

Eupleridae family of carnivorans

Eupleridae is a family of carnivorans endemic to Madagascar and comprising 10 known living species in seven genera, commonly known as euplerids, Malagasy mongooses or Malagasy carnivorans. The best known species is the fossa, in the subfamily Euplerinae. All species of Euplerinae were formerly classified as viverrids, while all species in the subfamily Galidiinae were classified as herpestids.

Ring-tailed vontsira species of mammal

The ring-tailed vontsira, locally still known as the ring-tailed mongoose is a euplerid in the subfamily Galidiinae, a carnivoran native to Madagascar.

Galidiinae subfamily of carnivorans

Galidiinae is a subfamily of carnivorans that is restricted to Madagascar and includes six species classified into four genera. Together with the three other species of indigenous Malagasy carnivorans, including the fossa, they are currently classified in the family Eupleridae within the suborder Feliformia. Galidiinae are the smallest of the Malagasy carnivorans, generally weighing about 600 to 900 g. They are agile, short-legged animals with long, bushy tails.

Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose species of mammal

The broad-striped Malagasy mongoose is a species of Galidiinae, a subfamily of mongoose-like euplerids native to Madagascar. The species contains two known subspecies: Galidictis fasciata fasciata and Galidictis fasciata striata.

Montagne dAmbre National Park park in Antsiranana Province, Madagascar

Montagne d'Ambre National Park is a national park in the Diana Region of northern Madagascar. The park is known for its endemic flora and fauna, water falls and crater lakes. It is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) north of the capital, Antananarivo and is one of the most biologically diverse places in all of Madagascar with seventy-five species of birds, twenty-five species of mammals, and fifty-nine species of reptiles are known to inhabit the park.

Long-eared jerboa species of mammal

The long-eared jerboa is a nocturnal mouse-like rodent with a long tail, long hind legs for jumping, and exceptionally large ears. It is distinct enough that authorities consider it to be the only member of both its genus, Euchoreutes, and subfamily, Euchoreutinae.

Greater dwarf lemur species of mammal

The greater dwarf lemur, or the Geoffroy's dwarf lemur, is a lemur that is widely distributed over the primary and secondary forests near the eastern coast of Madagascar. They are also found in northern parts of Madagascar. Greater dwarf lemurs live in forests and dry scrub areas. The head and body of the greater dwarf lemur can range from 167 to 264 millimeters in length, and 164 to 600 grams. Their tails can range from 195 to 310 millimeters in length.

Reddish-gray mouse lemur species of mammal

The reddish-gray mouse lemur also known as the gray-brown mouse lemur or rufous-gray mouse lemur, is found in Western Madagascar in the region around Beza Mahafaly Reserve, north to Lamboharana.

<i>Cryptoprocta spelea</i> Extinct species of carnivoran from Madagascar

Cryptoprocta spelea, also known as the giant fossa, is an extinct species of carnivore from Madagascar in the family Eupleridae, which is most closely related to the mongooses and includes all Malagasy carnivorans. It was first described in 1902, and in 1935 was recognized as a separate species from its closest relative, the living fossa. C. spelea is larger than the fossa, but otherwise similar. The two have not always been accepted as distinct species. When and how the larger form became extinct is unknown; there is some anecdotal evidence, including reports of very large fossas, that there is more than one surviving species.

<i>Salanoia</i> monotypic taxon

Salanoia is a genus of euplerid carnivoran with two currently described species found in Madagascar. They are mongoose-like, which is reflected in the older versions of their English names, for example brown-tailed mongoose which is now called brown-tailed vontsira. The name Salanoia is derived from one of the vernacular names for Salanoia concolor: Salano.

Ambatovaky Reserve

Ambatovaky Reserve is a tropical rainforest and wildlife reserve in the north-east of Madagascar. It is designated by Bird Life International as an Important Bird Area for the large number of endemic species of birds.

Euplerinae subfamily of carnivorans

Euplerinae, more commonly known as malagasy civets, is a subfamily of carnivorans that includes four species restricted to Madagascar. Together with the subfamily Galidiinae, which also only occurs on Madagascar, it forms the family Eupleridae. Members of this subfamily, which include the fossa, falanoucs and Malagasy civet, were placed in families like Felidae and Viverridae before genetic data indicated their consanguinity with other Madagascar carnivorans. Within the subfamily, the falanouc and Malagasy civet are more closely related to each other than to the fossa.

Durrells vontsira A small species of carnivoran from Madagascar

Durrell's vontsira is a Madagascan mammal in the family Eupleridae of the order Carnivora. It is most closely related to the brown-tailed mongoose, with which it forms the genus Salanoia. The two are genetically similar, but morphologically distinct, leading scientists to recognize them as separate species. After an individual was observed in 2004, the animal became known to science and S. durrelli was described as a new species in 2010. It is found only in the Lac Alaotra area.


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