The Falanouc is distributed throughout the costal forests of northwestern and eastern Madagascar (Garbutt, 1999).
The Falanouc lives in humid, lowland forests dominated by Cyperaceae, Raphia, and Pandanus species (Garbutt, 1999) although details of the habitat range of either subspecies are poorly known (Nowak 1999).
The Falanouc has a head and body length of 450-650 mm and a tail length of 220-250 mm (Albignac 1974 as stated in Nowak 1999). It has homodont teeth that are short and with a large single cusp, more closely resembling insectivore teeth than the shearing-crushing teeth of most carnivores. Its head is narrow and small with a pointed muzzle. The body is relatively stocky and large (larger than a domestic cat). It has a distictive wide cylindrical tail where fat is stored for use during periods of low food abundance. The underfur is dense and covered by long gaurd hairs. The Eastern Falanouc, Eupleres goudotii goudotii, has a fawn colored dorsum with a lighter belly. In the Western Falanouc, E. g. major, males are brownish while females are grayish (Garbutt 1999; Nowak 1999).
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range mass
- 2 to 4 kg
- 4.41 to 8.81 lb
Mating takes place in July and August and offspring are born between November and January. The mother gives birth to one or two precocious young. The offspring weigh approximately 150 g at birth and their eyes are already open. Within two days of birth, the young are able to follow their mother during foraging. They are weaned when they are nine weeks old (Garbutt 1999).
- Key Reproductive Features
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
The Falanouc is active during the night and spends the day sleeping in logs or rocky crevices. It is considered to be a solitary animal, though groups have been observed. Falanoucs defend large territories, the boundaries of which are marked by scent glands located around the anus and neck. Few vocalizations have been recorded (Garbutt 1999).
- Key Behaviors
Communication and Perception
The Falanouc's diet consists almost exclusively of earthworms and other small invertebrates (Macdonald 1992). Its elongate snout and insectivore-like teeth contribute to its specialization of the capture and processing of small invertebrate prey. It also uses its long claws to dig up prey while foraging in the leaf litter (Garbutt 1999).
The falanouc's endangered status is due to the recent increase of human impacts on Madagascar. Their numbers and distribution have declined due to deforestation, marsh drainage, hunting for food uses, and predation by domestic dogs. It is also suspected that competition from the introduced Viverrricula indica has contributed to the falanouc's decline. Although its range remains large, it is rare throughout (Shreiber et al. 1989 as stated in Nowak 1999).
Lea Boyd (author), University of California, Berkeley, James Patton (editor), University of California, Berkeley.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Albignac, R. 1969. Notes ethologiques sur quelques carnivores Magaches: -le Galidia elegans- I. Geoffroy, Terre vie, 24: 395-402.
Garbutt, N. 1999. Mammals of Madagascar. New Haven, Connetticut: Yale University Press.
Macdonald, D. 1992. The Velvet Claw. London: BBC Books.
Nowak, R. 1999. Mammals of the World. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.
Schreiber, A., R. Wirth, M. Riffel, H. Van Rompaey. 1989. Weasels, civets, mongooses, and their relatives: an action plan for the conservation of mustelids and viverids.. International Union Conserv. Nat.: iv + 99.