Diplogale hoseiHose's palm civet

Geographic Range

Hose's civets (Diplogale hosei) are native to Borneo. They have primarily been observed in the northwestern hills and mountains of the island in Brunei and Malaysia, in addition to sightings 500 km to the southwest in Indonesia. (Samejia and Semiadi, 2012; Van Rompaey and Azlan, 2004; Wilting and Fickel, 2012)


Hose's civets are believed to primarily inhabit montane forests between 450 and 1500 m above sea level, with an additional sighting at 287 m. They are mainly a terrestrial species that forages along mossy stream banks, although some specimens have been collected from the forest canopy. The forests they inhabit are mostly mature mixed dipterocarp, but some sightings have been in recently logged areas, possibly indicating that they have some level of resilience to human activity. (Francis, 2002; Mathai, et al., 2010; Matsubayashi, et al., 2011; Samejia and Semiadi, 2012; Van Rompaey and Azlan, 2004)

  • Range elevation
    287 to 1800 m
    941.60 to 5905.51 ft

Physical Description

Hose's civets are blackish-brown, with a long body and short legs. Its underparts are greyish or yellowish-white. It has long whiskers (over 15 cm long) and semi-webbed paws that have patches of short hair between the pads of their foot; both of these have been suggested as adaptations for foraging along stream and riverbanks and other moist areas. Its nose is very distinctive: the rhinarium is a contrasting color to the rest of the animal, and the protruding nostrils open at the sides of the nose. The tail is very long: while the head-body length is around 50 cm, the tail is often 30 cm or more in length. While variations in color have been noted, it is not known whether this is due to geographical or individual variations. (Francis, 2002; Thomas, 1892; Van Rompaey and Azlan, 2004; Yasuma, 2004)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    1.4 to 1.5 kg
    3.08 to 3.30 lb
  • Range length
    76 to 89 cm
    29.92 to 35.04 in


The mating system of Hose's civets is not known due to the elusive nature of the species and the lack of individuals in captivity.

Nothing is known about the reproductive behavior of Hose's civets. Other members of the civets and relative family generally give birth to two litters a year; the closely related banded palm civets are believed to usually give birth to 1 to 2 young, which are born altricial and require an extensive period of time to weaning. (Santoro, 2004)

  • Breeding interval
    The breeding interval for Hose's civets is unknown.
  • Breeding season
    The breeding season for Hose's civets is unknown.

The parental investment of Hose's civets is not known. The closely related banded palm civet gives birth to altricial young that nurse for around 70 days. Even for that somewhat more understood species, little is known about male parental investment. (Santoro, 2004)


As the only individual held in captivity was released after 2 and a half months, the lifespan of Hose's civets in captivity or the wild is not known. (Yasuma, 2004)


Very little is known about the habits of Hose's civet in the wild. Most of what is known is based on inferences from physical characteristics, the few specimens spotted or collected, and from the observations of the single individual ever held in captivity. They are most likely nocturnal: camera traps primarily recorded the species at night, and during 2 and a half months of observation the individual in captivity only left its hole after dark. Based on this individual's behavior and on the few records from the wild, Hose's civets are mostly terrestrial in habit, rarely using trees for shelter or foraging; however, a few early specimens were collected from the forest canopy. Its partially webbed paws and long whiskers might be adaptations for living in moist areas, suggesting they might be semi-aquatic. (Brodie and Giordano, 2011; Mathai, et al., 2010; Matsubayashi, et al., 2011; Samejia and Semiadi, 2012; Van Rompaey and Azlan, 2004; Wells, et al., 2005; Yasuma, 2004)

Home Range

The home range of Hose's civets is unknown.

Communication and Perception

Like other members of the civets, genets, linsangs, and relatives family, Hose's civets have glands for scent-marking; how extensively they use them, however, is unknown. Vocalizations have not been mentioned in any reported live observations. (Van Rompaey and Azlan, 2004)

Food Habits

No definite information about the diet of Hose's civets in the wild is known. The single individual that has been held in captivity ate mostly small fish, as well as chicken and lunchmeat, but refused fruit, rice, and fish that were too large to eat in a single bite or that had large scales or spines. This, along with their likely adaptations for foraging around streams, seems to indicate that fish make up most of their diet, along with other meat. Fruit and other plant matter probably only contributes significantly to their diet when fish or other meat is unavailable. The individual in captivity ate about 100 g of food daily, leaving any excess. (Van Rompaey and Azlan, 2004; Yasuma, 2004)

  • Animal Foods
  • birds
  • fish
  • aquatic crustaceans


redators of Hose's civets have not been identified.

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Very little information exists about the ecosystem roles of Hose's civets. As it seems to live in extremely low densities, it is unlikely that it plays a major role in ecosystem dynamics, or that it is the principal predator, prey, or host of any particular species. As it doesn't seem to eat fruit, it is unlikely that it acts as a seed disperser. (Hon and Azlan, 2008)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known direct economic benefits of Hose's civets, as they are almost unknown to humans and live in an unpopulated area. Other members of the civets, genets, linsangs, and relatives family are hunted or farmed for the secretions of their scent glands, which is a valuable substance in the making of perfumes; however, no record of harvesting Hose's civets for this purpose exists. (Hon and Azlan, 2008)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Just as there are no known direct economic benefits to humans provided by Hose's civets, there are also no known adverse impacts. It is unlikely that they are an important reservoir of diseases that affect humans, due to their low density and range being limited mostly unpopulated areas.

Conservation Status

As they are very elusive animals, the exact status of Hose's civets is uncertain. It is likely, however, that they have been adversely impacted by human activity such as logging throughout their range. Low population densities could make them vulnerable to the region-wide habitat loss and degradation associated with logging and development. Because of this, the IUCN has listed them as Vulnerable. In Sarawak, Malaysia, they are listed as protected. (Hon and Azlan, 2008; Mathai, et al., 2010; Schipper, et al., 2008)


Jessica McLaughlin (author), University of Alaska Fairbanks, Laura Prugh (editor), University of Washington, Laura Podzikowski (editor), Special Projects.


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.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


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.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


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.


active during the night


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


an animal that mainly eats fish


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.

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Brodie, J., A. Giordano. 2011. Small carnivores of the Maliau Basin, Sabah, Borneo, including a new locality for Hose's Civet Diplogale hosei. Small Carnivore Conservation, 44: 1-6.

Dinets, V. 2003. Records for small carnivores from Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo. Small Carnivore Conservation, 28: 9.

Francis, C. 2002. An observation of Hose's Civet in Brunei. Small Carnivore Conservation, 26: 19.

Hon, J., J. Azlan. 2008. "Diplogale hosei (Hose's Civet)" (On-line). IUCN Red List. Accessed October 04, 2012 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/full/6635/0.

Mathai, J., J. Hon, N. Juat, A. Peter, M. Gumal. 2010. Small carnivores in a logging concession in the Upper Baram, Sarawak, Borneo. Small Carnivore Conservation, 42: 1-9.

Matsubayashi, H., H. Bernard, A. Ahmad. 2011. Small carnivores of the Imbak Canyon, Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo, including a new locality for Hose's Civet Diplogale hosei. Small Carnivore Conservation, 45: 18-22.

Samejia, H., G. Semiadi. 2012. First record of Hose's Civet Diplogale hosei from Indonesia, and records of other carnivores in the Schwaner Mountains, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Small Carnivore Conservation, 46: 1-7.

Santoro, K. 2004. "Hemigalus derbyanus" (On-line). Animal Diversity Web. Accessed December 10, 2012 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Hemigalus_derbyanus/.

Schipper, J., M. Hoffmann, J. Duckworth, J. Conroy. 2008. The 2008 IUCN red listings of the world's small carnivores. Small Carnivore Conservation, 39: 29-34.

Thomas, O. 1892. On some mammals from Mount Dulit, North Borneo. Proceedings of the General Meetings for Scientific Business of the Zoological Society of London: 221-227. Accessed November 14, 2012 at http://www.archive.org/stream/proceedingsofzoo1892zool#page/222/mode/1up.

Van Rompaey, H., J. Azlan. 2004. Hose's Civet, Diplogale hosei. Small Carnivore Conservation, 30: 18-19.

Wells, K., A. Biun, M. Gabin. 2005. Viverrid and herpesterid observations by camera and small mammal cage trapping in the lowland forests of Borneo including a record of the Hose's Civet, Diplogale hosei. Small Carnivore Conservation, 32: 12-14.

Wilting, A., J. Fickel. 2012. Phylogenetic relationship of two threatened endemic viverrids from the Sunda islands, Hose's Civet and Sulawesi Civet. Journal of Zoology: 1-7.

Yasuma, S. 2004. Observations of a live Hose's Civet Diplogale hosei. Small Carnivore Conservation, 31: 3-5.