Viverrids: Civets & Genets
Not cats, not weasels: Viverrids!
Viverrids are mammals in the family Viverridae, and are feliform or cat-like mammals in the order Carnivora. Like cats, viverrids have excellent eyesight and hearing, but they tend to have longer snouts, shorter legs, and differences in their skull, teeth, and even whiskers. Viverrids have only semi-retractable claws.
Most viverrids are called genets, linsangs, civets, or palm civets, but this animal group also includes the Binturong.
Viverrids live mostly in tropical rainforests, but are also found in savannah, mountains, and woodlands in Africa, south Asia, and southern Europe. Habitat loss threatens all viverrids, but only one is endangered at present: the otter civet of southeast Asia.
Although classified as carnivores, viverrids are omnivorous, and at least one species is almost exclusively herbivorous!
Some species of viverrids spend most of their lives in trees, but many do forage along the ground, and the otter civet mentioned above lives mainly in and around water. Viverrids typically forage for food at night, spending their days resting in underground burrows, rock crevices, or tree hollows.
Viverrids range in size from about a foot long and weighing just over one pound, up to the biggest binturongs that grow up to 55 pounds! The 38 species of viverrids are divided into 15 genera, which are in turn grouped into four subfamilies.
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