- Malabar Large-spotted Civet
Malabar Large-spotted Civet Conservation status Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Viverridae Genus: Viverra Species: V. civettina Binomial name Viverra civettina
Malabar Large-spotted Civet range
The Malabar Large-spotted Civet (Viverra civettina), is a civet. It is also known as the Malabar Civet and called Jawadi Veruku - ജാവാദി വെരുകു് in Malayalam and Chirathe Bekku in Kannada. The species was once common along the lowland coastal tracts of Kerala and Karnataka in South India. It became rare by the beginning of the 20th century, but was still often used for producing civetin musk in the 1960s. In 1990, isolated populations of the Malabar Large-spotted Civet still survived in less disturbed areas of South Malabar. In 1999, fewer than 250 mature individuals were thought to survive in the wild.
The Malabar Large-spotted Civet is considered by some authorities as Viverra megaspila civettina, a subspecies of the Large Spotted Civet Viverra megaspila. Based on data for the Large Spotted Civet, considered by others to be conspecific, it probably weighs 8 – 9 kg (18 - 20 lb). The coat is greyish dull white with indistinct black spots that roughly form vague vertical stripes on the body. Another distinguishing feature from the sympatric Small Indian Civet (Viverricula indica), with which it might be confused, is its shorter tail when compared its body length and the presence of a crest of black erectile hairs on the back, which are characteristic of all the four species under the genus Viverra.
The Malabar Large-spotted Civet 's original habitat was found in the Malabar Coast moist forests belt below the Western Ghats, where it lived in wooded plains and adjoining hill slopes. It was once very common in the coastal districts of Malabar and Travancore. Extensive deforestation has reduced the Malabar forests to a series of isolated patches. Cashew plantations are a refuge, which probably hold most of the surviving populations of the Malabar Large-spotted Civet, and are now threatened by large-scale clearance for rubber plantations.
This nocturnal animal is carnivorous, solitary and aggressive in nature. It forages on the ground and has never been observed in trees. It feeds on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, birds eggs and some vegetable matter. The species is reportedly difficult to maintain in captivity for extracting musk, a secretion from anal glands of all civets that is used as a stabilizing agent in perfumes, in oriental medicine and flavouring 'beedis' (local cigarettes).
The major threat facing isolated populations that have managed to survive in marginal habitats is changing cash crop practices and accidental hunting with dogs. They tend to be treated as raiders of poultry, and are captured and killed when encountered.
- ^ Wozencraft, W. Christopher (16 November 2005). "Order Carnivora (pp. 532-628)". In Wilson, Don E., and Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14000418.
- ^ Jennings A, Veron G & Helgen K (2008). Viverra civettina. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 2008-10-15. Listed as Critically Endangered (CR C2a(i) v3.1)
- ^ Ashraf, N.V.K. et al. (1993) Two endemic viverrids of the Western Ghats, India. Oryx 27:109.
- ^ Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th Ed. The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore.
- ^ a b Massicot Paul (3/5/2005) Animal Info, retrieved 11/3/2007 Malabar Large Spotted Civet
- ^ Ministry of Tourism, Government of India (2006) Endangered Species, retrieved 11/3/2007 Malabar Large Spotted Civet
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