The common kusimanse (Crossarchus obscurus), also known as the long-nosed kusimanse or cusimanse, is a small, diurnal kusimanse or dwarf mongoose. Of three subfamilies of Herpestidae (Herpestinae, Mungotinae and Galidiinae), the kusimanse is a member of Mungotinae, which are small and very social.
G. Cuvier, 1825
|Common kusimanse range|
The common kusimanse has a vaguely weasel-shaped body with dark or reddish brown fur that is thick, with a wiry texture down the back, and fine and soft on the underside. It has a long snout, short legs, a short, relatively stiff tail which tapers to a point, long claws, small ears, small, dark colored eyes, and an elongated nose. Adult size is typically around 33 cm (13 in) with a weight of approximately 1 kg (2.2 lb).
This mongoose is a highly social animal which lives in a small family group of 10 to 20 or more individuals, with a strict hierarchical structure. The members of the family group communicate through various vocalizations including whistles, chirps and growls. The whistles are emitted for the purpose of maintaining contact in the dense rainforest understory while traveling.
It is capable of climbing, but tends to restrict most of its activities to the ground. It is very territorial, and will mark the group's territory with anal scent glands, and defend it vehemently against intruders, even those of a much larger size. It has a variety of threat displays which include various growls and snorts, as well as physical movements such as lunging, back arching, and hair erection. The group is nomadic, not spending much time in one particular area of their territory. As they move from place to place, they find shelter in tree hollows, other animal's burrows, or termite mounds.
As they do not occupy permanent den sites, the young are not able to keep up with the group for several weeks and must be carried to different foraging spots. Individuals in the group take turns carrying the young and also help to feed them.
It differs from other mongooses primarily in its choice of habitat, which is generally forested areas near water, whereas most species of mongoose tend to prefer open grasslands, or semi-arid brush. It can be found from sea level to elevations of 1000 m (3280 ft).
Kusimanses are active foragers, and excellent diggers, which feed on a wide variety of things. Their diet is primarily carnivorous, consisting of insects, larvae, fresh water crabs, small reptiles, and small rodents. They have excellent eyesight and keen sense of smell, making them adept small prey hunters. They prefer to kill their prey with a single bite to the back of the neck. They will also consume various types of fruits and berries in small quantity.
Where kusimanses live near human populations, they are "seen as natural pesticides."
Due to their hierarchical social structure, only the primary members of a family group are permitted to breed. Subordinate offspring are often killed and eaten by the more dominant members of the group. Sexual maturity is reached between nine months of age to a year old. Females go into estrus up to nine times a year. Males initiate and terminate copulation without much courting. Gestation is approximately eight weeks, and each litter averages 2–4 babies, though they have six mammae. Females are capable of having three litters per year. Babies are born about 13 mm (0.5 in) long with their eyes closed, and a thick undercoat of fur. After about twelve days, they begin to open their eyes and explore their environment. At around three weeks the mother weans them, their guard hairs begin to grow in, and they actively forage on their own. They do not grow to adult size until around 6–9 months of age. The life span of the common kusimanse in captivity is 10 years.
Due to its ease of training, and social nature, the common kusimanse is commonly available in the exotic pet trade and is found in many zoos worldwide. It tends to become quite bonded to its owner, and does not interact well with any other kind of household pet. It is highly energetic, requiring a large amount of space to satiate its natural wandering instinct. Without it, it tends to pace and act out with aggression. Its dietary needs can be met with a mix of various things including commercially available crickets, mealworms, or mice, along with a quality cat food.
In captivity the risk of obesity is high, and care should be taken to assure its diet is varied, and that it gets an appropriate amount of exercise. It will often try to eat almost anything it is offered or that it comes across which seems even remotely edible, and will often become aggressive if what it perceives as a food item is taken away. Captive breeding is not commonplace, but has been done.
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.Crossarchus
Crossarchus is a genus of mongoose, commonly referred to as kusimanse (often cusimanse), mangue, or dwarf mongoose. Of three subfamilies of Herpestidae (Herpestinae, Mungotinae and Galidiinae), dwarf mongooses belong to Herpestinae or Mungotinae, which are small, highly social mongooses.Flat-headed kusimanse
The flat-headed kusimanse (Crossarchus platycephalus) is a dwarf mongoose endemic to Benin, Cameroon and Nigeria. This species was once regarded as a subspecies of the common kusimanse (Crossarchus obscurus).Hemigalinae
The Hemigalinae are a subfamily of the viverrids denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864. This subfamily comprises the four monospecific genera:
DiplogaleIndian brown mongoose
The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.King genet
The king genet (Genetta poensis) is a small carnivoran native to the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. As it has not been recorded since 1946, it is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List. It probably inhabits only tropical rainforest.Lontra
Lontra is a genus of otters from the Americas.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.Mongoose
Mongoose is the popular English name for 29 of the 34 species in the 14 genera of the family Herpestidae, which are small feliform carnivorans native to southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. The other five species (all African) in the family are the four kusimanses in the genus Crossarchus, and the species Suricata suricatta, commonly called meerkat in English.
Six species in the family Eupleridae are endemic to the island of Madagascar. These are called "mongoose" and were originally classified as a genus within the family Herpestidae, but genetic evidence has since shown that they are more closely related to other Madagascar carnivorans in the family Eupleridae; they have been classified in the subfamily Galidiinae within Eupleridae since 2006.
Herpestidae is placed within the suborder Feliformia, together with the cat, hyena, and Viverridae families.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).Neophoca
Neophoca is a genus of the family Otariidae (sea lions and fur seals) of order Carnivora. It is combined by some taxonomists with the genus Phocarctos, the (extant) New Zealand sea lion. Only one species survives:
N. cinerea: Australian sea lion. Most subpopulations are small and genetically isolated.Extinct species:
N. palatina, known from a skull found in New ZealandNyctereutes
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.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.
Extant Carnivora species