This week, the spotlight falls upon the smallest member of the Civet family, which resides throughout south-east Asia. It’s a greatly under-reported species and consequently, little is known about its ecology. It adopts a semi-arboreal, nocturnal lifestyle which has made documenting it a challenge, especially using modern methods such as camera traps.
It’s found in a variety of habitats, including primary and secondary lowland, bamboo, hill and montane forest- as well as in grassland and along rivers. Linsangs also have a varied diet which includes, rodents, frogs, insects, snakes and birds, and they’re known to often stalk their prey while crawling on their stomach. There have also been sightings of it feeding on carrion. Reproductive information is sparse, but they are known to breed twice a year and usually give birth to two young. Nests are built in the hollows of trees or under tree roots and are often constructed of leaves and twigs.
Although it’s classed as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN – primarily because it’s not showing any population declines in any of its wide range – there are some threats to this status. Deforestation is an ongoing concern and the demand for Civet meat in Chinese and Vietnamese markets is growing rapidly, but not for linsangs specifically. More research needs to be carried out to confirm its conservation status, which was assigned based on weak information.
They’re thought to have exceptional hearing and eyesight. Lifespan in the wild is unknown, but one individual in captivity lived for almost 11 years.