Otter Civet

Otter Civet
Otter Civet
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Viverridae
Subfamily: Hemigalinae
Genus: Cynogale
Species: C. bennettii
Binomial name
Cynogale bennettii
J E Gray, 1837
Otter Civet range
Skull and dentition, as illustrated in Gervais' Histoire naturelle des mammifères

The Otter Civet, Cynogale bennettii, is a semi-aquatic civet found in forests, primarily lowland, near rivers and swampy areas of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo. An additional population, only known from single specimen, occurs in northern Vietnam (with likely – but unconfirmed – records from adjacent parts of Thailand and Yunnan, China). The latter population has sometimes been considered a separate species, the Lowe's Otter Civet (C. lowei), in which case the common name of C. bennettii has been modified to the Sunda Otter Civet (a reference to its then entirely Sundaic distribution).

The Otter Civet possesses several adaptions to its habitat, including a broad mouth and webbed feet with naked soles and long claws. Its muzzle is long with numerous long whiskers.

The Otter Civet is a nocturnal species that obtains most of its food from the water, feeding on fish, crabs, freshwater mollusks, as well as being able to climb to feed on birds and fruit. Given its rarity and secretive nature it is a very poorly known species. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN. It is in many ways similar to another rare and elusive civet, the Hose's Civet Diplogale hosei an endemic to the highlands of northern Borneo; the Otter Civet, however, has a shorter tail and does not have the whitish underparts as the Hose's Civet.

A research collaboration between the Sabah Forestry Department and the German wildlife research institute, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, announced on 9th February, 2011,[1] that they had photographed a specimen in the Deramakot Forest Reserve using remote camera traps.



  • Duckworth, J.W., Sebastian, T., Jennings, A. & Veron, G. (2008). Cynogale bennettii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 12 December 2008. Listed as Endangered (EN A2ce, v3.1)
  • Kanchanasakha, Budsabong. (1998). Carnivores of Mainland South East Asia. WWF, Bangkok. ISBN 974-89438-2-8

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