Large-spotted Civet

East Asia


Viverra megaspila


  • Habitat degradation and loss
  • Uncontrolled hunting

The Large-Spotted Civet or Malabar Civet is one of India’s rarest mammals and classified as an endemic viverrid to Southeast Asia. Its natural habitat can be found within deciduous, evergreen rainforests below 300m altitudes. Civets in general look like spotted, long-nosed cats but this particular civet has canine heads and muzzles as well as long legs that are more similar to dogs. Its colour varies from golden-buff and tawny to silvery-grey with brown and black spots, stripes, or blotches.

It would stay in dense cover by day among dipterocarp trees or thickets in plantations near riparian zones and would come out when night-time falls to forage for small animals, vegetable matter, and eggs. Widespread deforestation robbed the Large-Spotted Civet of its natural habitat. Most of the forests are turned into plantation areas for production of cashew and rubber. This increased the risk of being killed when it is forced to raid poultry in search for food or just because humans kill them on sight. Most of the time, it is intentionally being hunted as its meat is very much in demand in Chinese and Vietnamese markets.