name = ViverridaeMSW3 Wozencraft | pages = 548-559]

image_width = 200px
image_caption = Binturong
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Carnivora
subordo = Feliformia
familia = Viverridae
familia_authority = Gray, 1821
subdivision_ranks = Subfamilies
subdivision =

The family Viverridae is made up of 35 species, including all of the genets, the Binturong, most of the civets, and the four linsangs.

Viverrids are native to most of the Old World tropics, nearly all of Africa (bar the area immediately south of the Mediterranean), Madagascar, and the Iberian Peninsula. Favoured habitats include woodland, savanna, mountains and, above all, tropical rainforest. In consequence, many are faced with severe loss of habitat; several species are considered vulnerable and the Otter Civet is classified as endangered.


Viverrids are amongst the primitive families of the Carnivora, with skeletons very similar to those of fossils dating back to the Eocene, up to 50 million years ago. They are variable in form, but generally resemble long-nosed cats. Most have retractile or partially-retractile claws, a baculum, and an anal scent gland.

Viverrids range in size from the African Linsang with a body length of 33cm, and a weight of 650g, to the African Civet at 84cm and 18kg.

They are nocturnal animals, with excellent hearing and vision. They are generally solitary. Despite their placement in the order Carnivora, they are omnivorous, or, in the case of the Palm Civets, almost entirely herbivorous. In reflection of this, their flesh-shearing carnassial teeth are relatively undeveloped cite book |editor=Macdonald, D.|author= Wozencraft, W. Chris|year=1984 |title= The Encyclopedia of Mammals|publisher= Facts on File|location=New York|pages= 134-135|isbn= 0-87196-871-1] . The usual dental formula is:


Although it resembles the other civets, the African Palm Civet ("Nandinia binotata") is genetically distinct and belongs in its own monotypic family, Nandiniidae. The Madagascan Fossa "Cryptoprocta ferox" was similarly long thought to be a member of Viverridae, but genetic evidence indicates that this animal is a member of the family Eupleridae, an endemic Madagascan carnivore radiation related to the family Herpestidae. Furthermore, recent genetic research indicates that the Asiatic linsangs of the genus "Prionodon", may be more closely related to the species of the family Felidae; if so, then they should be removed from Viverridae and placed in their own family, Prionodontidae. There is little dispute, however, that the African linsangs of genus "Poiana" are viverrids.


** Subfamily Paradoxurinae
*** Genus "Arctictis"
**** Binturong ("Arctictis binturong")
*** Genus "Arctogalidia"
**** Small-toothed Palm Civet ("Arctogalidia trivirgata")
*** Genus "Macrogalidia"
**** Sulawesi Palm Civet ("Macrogalidia musschenbroekii")
*** Genus "Paguma"
**** Masked Palm Civet ("Paguma larvata")
*** Genus "Paradoxurus"
**** Asian Palm Civet ("Paradoxurus hermaphroditus")
**** Jerdon's Palm Civet ("Paradoxurus jerdoni")
**** Golden Palm Civet ("Paradoxurus zeylonensis")
** Subfamily Hemigalinae
*** Genus "Chrotogale"
**** Owston's Palm Civet ("Chrotogale owstoni")
*** Genus "Cynogale"
**** Otter Civet ("Cynogale bennettii")
*** Genus "Diplogale"
**** Hose's Palm Civet ("Diplogale hosei")
*** Genus "Hemigalus"
**** Banded Palm Civet ("Hemigalus derbyanus")
** Subfamily Prionodontinae
*** Genus "Prionodon"
**** Banded Linsang ("Prionodon linsang")
**** Spotted Linsang ("Prionodon pardicolor")
** Subfamily Viverrinae
*** Genus "Civettictis"
**** African Civet ("Civettictis civetta")
*** Genus "Genetta"
**** Abyssinian Genet ("Genetta abyssinica")
**** Angolan Genet ("Genetta angolensis")
**** Bourlon's Genet ("Genetta bourloni")
**** Crested Servaline Genet ("Genetta cristata")
**** Common Genet ("Genetta genetta")
**** Johnston's Genet ("Genetta johnstoni")
**** Rusty-spotted Genet ("Genetta maculata")
**** Pardine Genet ("Genetta pardina")
**** Aquatic Genet ("Genetta piscivora")
**** King Genet ("Genetta poensis")
**** Servaline Genet ("Genetta servalina")
**** Haussa Genet ("Genetta thierryi")
**** Cape Genet ("Genetta tigrina")
**** Giant Forest Genet ("Genetta victoriae")
*** Genus "Poiana"
**** Leighton's Linsang ("Poiana leightoni")
**** African Linsang ("Poiana richardsonii")
*** Genus "Viverra"
**** Malabar Large-spotted Civet ("Viverra civettina")
**** Large-spotted Civet ("Viverra megaspila")
**** Malayan Civet ("Viverra tangalunga")
**** Large Indian Civet ("Viverra zibetha")
*** Genus "Viverricula"
**** Small Indian Civet ("Viverricula indica")

Civet/Genet Hybrids

In "The Variation Of Animals And Plants Under Domestication" Charles Darwin noted: "The Genetta has bred both here and in the Jardin des Plantes, and produced hybrids." Others have also reported civet/genet hybrids.


External links

* [ Genet: Wildlife summary from the African Wildlife Foundation]
* [ BBC: 'New mammal' seen in Borneo]
* [ University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web page]
* [ ITIS page]
* [ The Straight Dope on Civet Cats]

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  • family Viverridae — noun genets; civets; mongooses • Syn: ↑Viverridae, ↑Viverrinae, ↑family Viverrinae • Hypernyms: ↑mammal family • Member Holonyms: ↑Carnivora, ↑order C …   Useful english dictionary

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