Herpestes smithii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Herpestes smithii
Species Authority: Gray, 1837
Common Name(s):
English Ruddy Mongoose
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies are recognized by Corbet and Hill (1992) but further taxonomic studies are needed.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Choudhury, A., Wozencraft, C., Muddapa, D. & Yonzon, P.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. The impacts of habitat loss and degradation and hunting on populations are unknown but the population is not suspected to be declining at a rate sufficient to qualify for Near Threatened. This species not only has a wide geographical distribution, but it also occurs in varied vegetation types from arid regions in the plains of northern and western India to high altitudes (> 2000 m) of southern India, as well as in human-dominated agricultural landscapes. More information is needed to determine the true status of this species and there is a need to monitor its trends.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The ruddy mongoose is found in Southern India: Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Yoganand and Kumar 1995), central India (Shekhar 2003) and Sri Lanka (Ratnayeke pers. comm.). There are recent records in northern India from Madhav National Park, Madhya Pradesh, Sariska TR, and Rajasthan.
India; Sri Lanka
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population status of the ruddy mongoose is unknown, but the species is believed to be common in some forests of central India (Shekhar 2003).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The ecology of the ruddy mongoose remains to be studied. Most records of this species are from forested areas including dry forests, dry thorn areas, and disturbed forests, although there are also fewer records from open areas and secluded rice paddy fields (Divya Mudappa pers comm. 2006). In India, this species was found exclusively in dry forests, and was never sighted near human settlements (Shekhar 2003). The elevation range is 50 to 2,200 m in South India (Divya Mudappa pers comm. 2006).

The ruddy mongoose is crepuscular, hunting by day as well as by night, and leads an at least partially arboreal existence, as it hunts, feeds, and rests in trees (Shekhar 2003). In India, it is frequently sighted scavenging road kill (Shekhar 2003).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Little is known of direct threats to the ruddy mongoose but there appear to be no major threats to the global population. Local-scale major threats include hunting and snaring by local tribes.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Indian population is listed on CITES Appendix III (Wozencraft 2005), and Schedule IV of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In central India people consider the mongoose to be sacred, and thus it is not killed there (Shekhar 2003). The species occurs in numerous protected areas.

Citation: Choudhury, A., Wozencraft, C., Muddapa, D. & Yonzon, P. 2008. Herpestes smithii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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