Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Viverridae

Scientific Name: Paradoxurus hermaphroditus
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1777)
Common Name(s):
English Common Palm Civet, Mentawai Palm Civet
Paradoxurus lignicolor Miller, 1903
Paradoxurus musangus (Raffles, 1821)
Paradoxurus philippinensis Jourdan, 1837
Taxonomic Notes: Many subspecies have been described (Corbet and Hill 1992) and a taxonomic revision is needed (Veron et al. in prep.). Paradoxurus lignicolor, endemic to the Mentawai islands, has a debated taxonomic status, being sometimes considered a separate species (Schreiber et al. 1989, Corbet and Hill 1992) or, as here, a subspecies of P. hermaphroditus (Wozencraft 2005); its taxonomic status needs re-evaluation.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Duckworth, J.W., Widmann P., Custodio, C., Gonzalez, J.C., Jennings, A. & Veron, G.
Reviewer(s): Belant, J. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Least Concern as it has a wide distribution, large populations, is tolerant of a broad range of habitats, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species has a widespread distribution in central, south and southeastern Asia occurring in Borneo (Wells et al. 2005), India (Krishnakumar and Balakrishnan 2003); Lao (Duckworth 1997), Peninsular Malaysia (Azlan 2003; Kawanishi and Sunquist 2004; Laidlaw pers. comm.), Myanmar (Su Su 2005), Siberut Island (Mentawai, Indonesia; Abegg 2003), Philippines (Heaney et al. 1991), Thailand (Austin and Tewes 1999), Bhutan, Cambodia (J.L. Walstone pers. comm.), southern China (including Hainan), Nepal, Singapore (B.P.Y.H. Lee pers. comm.), Sri Lanka , Viet Nam (Roberton 2007); and with scattered records in Sulawesi, Moluccas, and the Aru Islands (New Guinea), probably resulting from introductions (Wozencraft 2005).

It was also introduced to Japan in the late 1800s, and still persists there today (S. Roy in litt. 2006). It has also been recorded from the islands of Bawean (Indonesia), Con Son (Viet Nam), Koh Samui (Thailand), Koh yao (Thailand), Samar (Philippines), and Telebon (Thailand) (Meiri, 2005), in addition to many others (Pocock 1939). Paradoxurus lignicolor (included in Paradoxurus hermaphroditus by Wilson and Reeder 2005) was recorded by Abegg (2003) on Siberut of the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia.

In addition it has been found on the Philippine islands of Biliran, Maripipi (Rickart et al. 1993) Mindoro, Catanduanes (Heaney et al. 1991), Cebu, Masbate, Polillo, Ilin, Samar, Dumaran and Panay (Timm and Birney 1980; Lastimosa pers. comm.).
Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan, Lesser Sunda Is. - Introduced, Maluku - Introduced, Papua - Introduced, Sulawesi - Introduced, Sumatera); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Myanmar; Nepal; Philippines; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population status is poorly known. However, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that across its wide range this is generally one of the most common species of civets, except in southern China were it is extensively hunted/trapped (M. Lau pers. comm. 2006) . It is probably the most common mammalian carnivore on Palawan Island, the Phillipines (Esselstyn et al. 2004) and Su Su (2005) found that it was the most common species of small carnivore recorded in Hlawga Wildlife Park in Myanmar, a high degraded and heavily hunted small fragment of forest from which most wild carnivores have been eradicated. In mainland (non-Sundaic) Southeast Asia it occurs commonly at almost any site that is surveyed using suitable methodology, including the most degraded, isolated among human environments, and hunted small sites such as Houay Nhang in Lao PDR and Hlawga in Myanmar (Duckworth 2007, Su Su 2005, Than Zaw et al. in prep., Roberton et al. in prep., R. J. Timmins pers. comm., J. L.Walston pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species has been found in a wide range of habitats including evergreen and deciduous forest (primary and secondary), plantations and near humans, in habitats up to 2,400 m (Ratnam et al., 1995; Heydon and Bulloh, 1996; Duckworth 1997; Azlan, 2003; Heaney et al. 2004; Su Su, 2005; Wells et al. 2005; Than Zaw et al. in press). Radio-tracking studies have revealed home-ranges of up to 17 km² for males and 1.6 km² for females (Dhungle and Edge, 1985; Rabinowitz, 1991; Joshi et al. 1995; Grassman, 1998).

In the Philippines the species has been recorded in agricultural (including coffee plantations) and forested areas from sea level up to at least 2,400 m asl (Balete and Heaney in press, Heaney et al. 1991 in press, Hoogstraal 1951, Rabor 1986, Thomas 1898) and in montane and mossy forest from 925-2150 m asl in Balbalasang, Kalinga Province (Heaney et al.

In Lao PDR, this species has been found in all habitats surveyed, from Mekong lowlands to montane areas, evergreen to deciduous forest to scrub (Duckworth et al. 1999). This species is adapted for forest living, yet it tolerates living in areas near humans; sleeping in barns, drains, or roofs during the day, and coming out at night to catch rats or forage for mango, coffee, pineapples, melons, and bananas, it also eats insects and mollusks (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). In Myanmar, it was recorded in mixed deciduous forest and a wide range of evergreen forest-dominated sites (Su Su, 2005, than Zaw et al. in press). This species was recorded in primary lowland rainforest in Tawau Hills National Park in Borneo by Wells et al. (2005). All Bornean civets (except Diplogale hosei) have been recorded in disturbed forest areas, though abundance declines in this habitat (Heydon and Bulloh, 1996; Colon, 2002; pers. comm.). It was recorded in disturbed habitat in Malaysia by Ratnam et al. (1995). It was recorded in secondary forest, that was logged in the 1970s, and which surrounds a palm estate, in Malaysia in 2000-01 by Azlan (2003). This species is largely arboreal (Payne et al. 1985), crepuscular (Azlan, 2005) and nocturnal (e.g. Duckworth 1997). There is interesting variation across its mainland range in habitat use. In Lao PDR it occurs commonly deep within old-growth evergreen and semi-evergreen forest (Duckworth 1997) but it seems to avoid such habitat in the Western Ghats (Mudappa in press).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In some parts of its range this species is hunted for bush meat and the pet trade. In South China it is extensively hunted and trapped (Lau pers. comm.). It is also persecuted as a pest (Gupta, 2004, Su Su 2005, GMA Philippines, 2006) though it seems able to tolerate very high levels of persecution (e.g., Duckworth 1997). Dead individuals of this species were found with local tribes during a visit to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and Agra, Uttar Pradesh in India between 1998 and 2003, where it is killed for its meat (Gupta, 2004). While these pressures are certainly having localized effects on populations in highly fragmented and ‘humanized’ areas, e.g. Houay Nhang (Lao PDR), there is no evidence in mainland Southeast Asia of them significantly reducing the population levels in large tracts of natural and semi-natural habitat, even in the heavily hunted countries of Lao PDR and Vietnam; while in India it is a common urban commensal (e.g., Gupta 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is found within protected areas throughout its range (e.g. Lao PDR - Duckworth 1997, Viet Nam – Roberton et al. in prep.; Cambodia–J. L. Walmart pers. comm.; Myanmar – Than Zaw et al. in press). It was recorded from Hlawga Wildlife Park in Myanmar between 2000 and 2003 (Su Su, 2005). This species was recorded from Tawau Hills National Park in Borneo in 2003-04 (Wells et al, 2005). This species was recorded from Jerangau Forest Reserve in Peninsular Malaysia in 2000-01 (Azlan, 2003). It was also recorded from Temengor Forest Reserve in Malaysia by Ratnam et al. (1995). It has been found in Bawangling, Wuzhishan and Yinggeling Nature Reserves in Hainan in the last few years (Lau pers. comm. 2006). This species is protected in Malaysia (Azlan pers. comm.). It is protected by law in Sichuan, China (Li et al, 2000), and it is listed as Vulnerable on the China Red List (Wang and Xie, 2004). It is listed on CITES Appendix III (India). Field surveys, ecological studies, habitat protection and monitoring of threats are needed, especially in areas where it may be reduced due to human depredation (ie China).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Marginal  
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Marginal  
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
suitability: Marginal  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.2. Unintentional effects (species is not the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Abegg, C. 2003. Encounter with a Siberut Palm Civet, Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Small Carnivore Conservation 29: 20-21.

Azlan, J. 2003. The diversity and conservation of mustelids, viverrids, and herpestids in a disturbed forest in Peninsular Malaysia. Small Carnivore Conservation 29: 8–9.

Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. 1992. Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: a Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Duckworth, J.W. 1997. Small carnivores in Laos: a status review with notes on ecology, behaviour and conservation. Small Carnivore Conservation 16: 1–21.

Grassman, L.I., Jr. 1998. Movements and fruit selection of two Paradoxurinae species in a dry evergreen forest in Southern Thailand. Small Carnivore Conservation 19: 25-29.

Gupta, B.K. 2004. Killing civets for meat and scent in India. Small Carnivore Conservation 31: 21.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Kawanishi, K. and Sunquist, M.E. 2004. Conservation status of Tigers in a primary rainforest of Peninsular Malaysia. Biological Conservation 120(3): 329–344.

Krishnakumar, H. and Balakrishnan, M. 2003. Feeding ecology of the Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus (Pallas) in semi-urban habitats in Trivandrum, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 28: 10-11.

Meiri, S. 2005. Small carnivores on small islands: new data based on old skulls. Small Carnivore Conservation 33: 21-23.

Schreiber, A., Wirth, R., Riffel, M. and Van Rompaey, H. 1989. Weasels, civets, mongooses, and their relatives. An Action Plan for the conservation of mustelids and viverrids. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Su Su. 2005. Small carnivores and their threats in Hlawga Wildlife Park, Myanmar. Small Carnivore Conservation 33: 6-13.

Timm, R.M. and Birney, E.C. 1980. Mammals collected by the Menage Scientific Expedition to the Philippine Islands and Borneo, 1890-1893. Journal of Mammalogy 61: 566-571.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Duckworth, J.W., Widmann P., Custodio, C., Gonzalez, J.C., Jennings, A. & Veron, G. 2008. Paradoxurus hermaphroditus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41693A10518525. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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