Large-spotted civet

Large-spotted civet
At Saigon Zoo
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Viverridae
Genus: Viverra
Species: V. megaspila
Binomial name
Viverra megaspila
Blyth, 1862
Large-spotted civet range

The large-spotted civet (Viverra megaspila) is a viverrid native to Southeast Asia that is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.[1]



Pocock described the large-spotted civet as varying in colour from silvery-grey to golden-buff or tawny with a black to brown pattern and large or comparatively small spots, which are separated or sometimes fusing into blotches or into vertical stripes behind the shoulders. White bands on the tail are mostly restricted to the sides and lower surface but very seldom form complete rings. Adults measure 30–30.5 in (76–77 cm) in head and body with a 13–15.5 in (33–39 cm) long tail. Its weight ranges from 14.5–18.5 lb (6.6–8.4 kg).[2]

Distribution and habitat

Large-spotted civets are found in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and China. In China, the last sighting occurred in 1998.[1] They inhabit evergreen, deciduous, and dry dipterocarp forests below altitudes of 300 m (980 ft). In Thailand, they occur in several protected areas as far south as the Ranong Province.[3]

Ecology and behaviour

Large-spotted civets feed on small mammals and some vegetation.[4]


The large-spotted civet is threatened due to habitat degradation, habitat loss, and hunting with snares and dogs. The population is thought to have been steadily declining throughout the range countries, and in China and Vietnam in particular may have been reduced significantly.[1] In Chinese and Vietnamese markets, it is in demand as food.[5]

Taxonomic history

Pocock considered V. megaspila and V. civettina to be distinct species.[2] Ellerman and Morrison-Scott considered V. civettina a subspecies of V. megaspila.[6]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Timmins, R.; Duckworth, J.W.; WWF-Malaysia, Roberton; S., Gray; T.N.E., Willcox; D.H.A., Chutipong, W. & Long, B. (2016). "Viverra megaspila". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  2. 1 2 Pocock, R. I. (1939). The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. Taylor and Francis, London.
  3. Lynam, A. J., Maung, M., Po, S.H.T. and Duckworth, J.W. (2005). Recent records of Large-spotted Civet Viverra megaspila from Thailand and Myanmar. Small Carnivore Conservation 32: 8–11.
  4. Carruthers, L. "Large-Spotted Civet". The Animal Files. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  5. Bell, D., Roberton, S. and Hunter, P. R. (2004). Animal origins of SARS coronavirus: possible links with the international trade in small carnivores. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 359: 1107–1114.
  6. Ellerman, J.R. and Morrison-Scott, T.C.S. (1966). Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals 1758 to 1946. Second edition. British Museum of Natural History, London.
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