|African striped weasel|
|African striped weasel range|
The African striped weasel is one of the smallest mammalian carnivores in Africa, and has an elongated body and short legs. Adults have a head-body length of 27 to 32 cm (11 to 13 in), with the tail adding a further 16 to 20 cm (6.3 to 7.9 in). Males are larger than females, weighing an average of 339 g (12.0 oz), compared with 251 g (8.9 oz). The fur is mostly black, with four white to pale yellowish bands running down the back, a white patch on the top of the head, and a white tail.
The head is elongated, with small eyes, a short, broad snout, and short ears. The carnassial teeth are short, and the canine teeth long. The claws are sharp and curved, and the tail is long and bushy. Females typically have four teats. Like many other mustelids, the African striped weasel has well-developed scent glands in the perineal region that can spray a noxious fluid when the animal feels threatened.
African striped weasels inhabit much of Africa south of the equator. They are found from the Democratic Republic of the Congo across to Kenya in the north, and as far south as southern South Africa. Within this region, they are most common in savannah habitats, but may also be found in forests and grasslands. They commonly live below 1,500 m (4,900 ft) elevation, but may occasionally be found as high as 2,200 m (7,200 ft).
African striped weasels are nocturnal hunters of small mammals, birds, and reptiles, but feed almost entirely on rodents of their own size or smaller. The weasels hunt primarily by scent, attacking prey with a sudden lunge and striking at the back of the neck. After the initial strike, they kill by whipping their own body and kicking, making use of their thin, lithe, muscular build to stun and tear the prey item. They sometimes stores its prey in their burrow instead of eating it immediately.
The weasel is generally solitary, but individuals sometimes pair up to dig burrows. They are effective diggers, but may sometimes rest in natural cavities such as hollow logs or rock crevices. They deposit dung in well-defined latrines locations, possibly as a means of scent marking. Males are aggressive when they encounter one another, at first fluffing their tails, making short cries, and fake charges, and then escalating to fighting with bites, shaking, and aggressive shrieks if neither individual retreats.
African striped weasels have been identified as making six different types of call. Apart from the warning and aggressive calls mentioned above, and a third call that transitions between the two, there is a call that signals submission of a retreating male, a call that indicates surrender during a fight, and a greeting call used only between males and females and between young and their mother. Young weasels also make distress calls when separated from their mother.
Mating occurs between spring and summer, and includes at least three bouts of copulation, each lasting 60 to 80 minutes, in a single 24-hour period. Females give birth to a single litter of two or three young after a gestation period of 30 days.
The young are born in a burrow, and are initially blind and hairless, weighing just 4 g (0.14 oz) each. Their canine teeth erupt at five weeks, and their eyes open after seven weeks. By eleven weeks of age, they are weaned, and they start killing their own prey at thirteen weeks. They reach the full adult size at 20 weeks, and are sexually mature at eight months.
According to African folklore, if one cuts off the nose of a weasel, it will grow back two shades lighter in colour, but it will bring misfortune to your family and lead to a poor harvest. This myth gave birth to expression "A weasel's nose is not to be trifled with."
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.Bdeogale
Bdeogale is a genus of three species of mongoose native to the rainforests of central and western Africa. They are primarily terrestrial and insectivorous.Catopuma
Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the bay cat (C. badia) and the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii).
Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head. They inhabit forested environments in Southeast Asia. The bay cat is restricted to the island of Borneo. Originally thought to be two subspecies of the same animal, recent genetic analysis has confirmed they are, indeed, separate species.The two species diverged from one another 4.9-5.3 million years ago, long before Borneo separated from the neighboring islands. Their closest living relative is the marbled cat, from which the common ancestor of the genus Catopuma diverged around 9.4 million years ago.Egyptian weasel
The Egyptian weasel (Mustela subpalmata) is a species of weasel that lives in northern Egypt. It is rated "Least Concern" by the IUCN Red List.Ferret-badger
Ferret-badgers are the five species of the genus Melogale, which is the only genus of the monotypic mustelid subfamily Helictidinae.
Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti)
Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata)
Javan ferret-badger (Melogale orientalis)
Burmese ferret-badger (Melogale personata)
Vietnam ferret-badger (Melogale cucphuongensis)Galerella
Galerella is a genus of the mongoose family (Herpestidae) native to Africa and commonly called the slender mongooses.There are four or five species in this genus, with more than 30 subspecies.
Four of the species have long been established:
A recent addition is the black mongoose, Galerella nigrata, which now is considered a separate species by many scientists, following genetic analysis. It was previously seen as a variant of Galerella sanguinea.Ictonychinae
Ictonychinae is a subfamily of the mammal family Mustelidae found mainly in the Neotropics (3 species) and Africa (3 species), with one Eurasian member. It includes the grisons, Patagonian weasel, striped polecats, African striped weasel and marbled polecat, respectively. These genera were formerly included within a paraphyletic definition of the mustelid subfamily Mustelinae.
Most members have a mask-like bar or larger dark marking across their face; the African representatives of the group are striped. A defense mechanism common to the group is use of a chemical spray similar to (but not necessarily as strong as) that of skunks.Lutrogale
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.Mephitis (genus)
The genus Mephitis is one of several genera of skunks, which has two species and a North American distribution.Mustelidae
The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56-60 species across eight subfamilies.Mustelinae
Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).Nyctereutes
Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.
Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.Paradoxurus
Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:
the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)
the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)
the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.Pusa
Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.
The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.
Only the Caspian seal is endangered.Saharan striped polecat
The Saharan striped polecat, also known as the Saharan striped weasel, Libyan striped weasel, and the North African striped weasel (Ictonyx libycus) is a species of mammal in the family Mustelidae. This animal is sometimes characterized as being a part of the genus Poecilictis, and its coloration resembles that of the striped polecat.Speothos
Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.Viverra
Viverra is a mammalian genus that was first nominated and described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 as comprising several species including the large Indian civet (V. zibetha). The genus was subordinated to the viverrid family by John Edward Gray in 1821.West African oyan
The West African oyan (Poiana leightoni), also known as the West African linsang, is a linsang species native to the Upper Guinean forests in West Africa.
It is one of the least known small carnivores in Africa.
Extant Carnivora species