Greater grison

The greater grison (Galictis vittata), is a species of mustelid native to Southern Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Greater grison
Greater grison
Scientific classification
G. vittata
Binomial name
Galictis vittata
(Schreber, 1776)
Greater Grison area
Greater grison range

Galictis allamandi Bell 1837


The greater grison is a slender animal with short legs, a long neck, and a short, bushy tail. They are similar in appearance to the closely related lesser grison, from which they can be most readily distinguished by their greater size, with a head-body length ranging from 45 to 60 centimetres (18 to 24 in). Adults weigh between 1.5 and 3.8 kilograms (3.3 and 8.4 lb) in the wild, but may become larger when reared in captivity.[2]

The back, flanks, top of the head, and the tail, are grizzled grey in color, while the rest of the body is much darker, and usually solid black. A narrow whitish stripe separates the darker and lighter fur on the head and shoulder, but not further back, where the two colors may, in some individuals, blur into one another. The tail is 14 to 20 centimetres (5.5 to 7.9 in) long, and covered with bushy hair similar in color to that on the animal's back. The head is flattened and broad, with short, rounded ears, and dark brown to black eyes. The legs are muscular, with five webbed toes, each ending in a sharp, curved claw.[2]

Distribution and habitat

Greater grisons are native to Central and South America, ranging from southern Mexico in the north, to central Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia in the south. They inhabit a wide range of forest and cerrado habitats, and are usually seen near rivers and streams. They are typically found at elevations below 500 metres (1,600 ft), but they may be found as high as 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in some parts of the Bolivian Andes.[2] In some regions, they may also be found in cultivated areas, such as plantations and rice paddies.[1] Four living, and one fossil subspecies are recognised:[3]

  • Galictis vittata vittata - northern South America
  • Galictis vittata andina - Peru and Bolivia
  • Galictis vittata brasiliensis - Brazil
  • Galictis vittata canaster - Central America and southern Mexico
  • Galictis vittata fossilis - Pleistocene Brazil[2]


Greater grisons are primarily terrestrial, although they can climb trees and swim well. They are mostly diurnal, and only occasionally active at night.[4] They live alone or in pairs, with home ranges of at least 4.2 square kilometres (1.6 sq mi), and a very low population density, such that they are rarely encountered in the wild. They spend the night sleeping in cavities in hollow logs or beneath tree roots, or else in the abandoned burrows of other animals.[4]

Little is known of their diet, although it consists largely of small vertebrates, such as fish, amphibians, birds, and other mammals.[5] While hunting, they move in a zigzag pattern, making short bounds and occasionally stopping to look around with their heads raised and sniff the air. When moving more cautiously, they press their bodies close to the ground in a movement that has been described as 'snake-like'. They have been reported to respond to threats with a series of grunts that rise in intensity and frequency until they become rapid barks, and finally a single loud scream with their teeth bared.[2]


Like many other mustelids, greater grisons possess anal scent glands that secrete a yellowish or greenish musk. Although not especially noxious in comparison with that of other species, this can be sprayed at attackers, as well as being used to mark the grison's territory.[2]

Litters of up to four young are born from March to September, after a gestation period of 39 days. Newborn young weigh less than 50 grams (1.8 oz), and are initially blind, although with a short coat of hair already bearing the adult pattern. Their eyes open after two weeks, and they begin to eat solid food at three weeks, reaching the adult size in just four months.[4] They have lived for at least ten years in captivity.[2]


  1. ^ a b Cuarón, A.D.; Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). "Galictis vittata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Yensen, E.; Tarifa, T. (2003). "Galictis vittata". Mammalian Species: Number 727: pp. 1–8. doi:10.1644/727.
  3. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ a b c Wilson, D.E.; Mittermeier, R.A., eds. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 1: Carnivora. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 636–637. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1.
  5. ^ Bisbal, F.J. (1986). "Food habits of some Neotropical carnivores in Venezuela (Mammalia, Carnivora)". Mammalia. 50 (3): 329–340. doi:10.1515/mamm.1986.50.3.329.
Alexander's kusimanse

Alexander's kusimanse (Crossarchus alexandri) is a genus of mongoose found in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.This species has a body length of 30 to 45 centimeters (12 to 18 inches) and weighs between 0.45 and 1.4 kg (0.99 and 3.09 lb). Its tail measures 15 and 25 centimeters (5.9 and 9.8 inches) in length.

It is known to share range with the Angolan kusimanse (Crossarchus ansorgei). It feeds on grubs, small rodents, small reptiles, crabs, and some fruits. It can produce 2 to 3 litters (2 to 4 young per litter) of young each year after a gestation period of 8 weeks. The young wean at 3 weeks old and reach sexual maturity at 9 months old.

Angolan kusimanse

The Angolan kusimanse (Crossarchus ansorgei), also known as Ansorge's kusimanse, is a species of small mongoose. There are two recognized subspecies: C. a. ansorgei, found in Angola; and C. a. nigricolor, found in DR Congo, which do not have overlapping ranges. It prefers rainforest type habitat, and avoids regions inhabited by humans. It grows to 12–18 inches in length, with a 6–10 inch long tail, and weighs 1–3 lb. Little is known about this species of kusimanse, and there are no estimates of its wild population numbers or status.

Until 1984, the species was only known from two specimens from Baringa but are now thought to be quite common in some regions. Threats are probably habitat loss and bushmeat hunting. However, this species is protected by Salonga National Park.


The genus Arctocephalus consists of fur seals. Arctocephalus translates to "bear head."

Asiatic linsang

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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.


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)


A grison , also known as a South American wolverine, is any mustelid in the genus Galictis. Native to Central and South America, the genus contains two extant species: the greater grison (Galictis vittata), which is found widely in South America, through Central America to southern Mexico; and the lesser grison (Galictis cuja), which is restricted to the southern half of South America.

Giant forest genet

The giant forest genet (Genetta victoriae), also known as the giant genet, is a genet species endemic to the Congo Basin. As it is considered as widely distributed and common, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.


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.

Lesser grison

The lesser grison (Galictis cuja) is a species of mustelid from South America.


Lontra is a genus of otters from the Americas.


Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.


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 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 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 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.

Pardine genet

The pardine genet (Genetta pardina), also known as the West African large spotted genet, is a genet species living in West Africa. As it is widely distributed and common, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Patagonian weasel

The Patagonian weasel (Lyncodon patagonicus) is a small mustelid that is the only member of the genus Lyncodon. Its geographic range is the Pampas of western Argentina and sections of Chile. An early mention of the animal is in the Journal of Syms Covington, who sailed with Charles Darwin on his epic voyage aboard HMS Beagle.

Extant Carnivora species

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