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Crab-eating Mongoose
   
   

Order : CARNIVORA
Family : Herpestidae
Species : Herpestes urva

Head-body length : up to 48 cm
Tail length : up to 31 cm
Weight : up to 4 kg

This relatively large species of mongoose occurs in a variety of habitats including mainly primary evergreen forest and tall secondary forest, but sometimes in degraded scrub. It is diurnal in habits (Rayan & Shariff, 2008).

Its sense of smell and hearing are well developed, and it generally avoids encounters with humans. It is able to squirt a strong-smelling fluid from glands at the base of its tail as a form of defence.

The species feeds on aquatic fauna such as frogs, fish, crabs and molluscs, and is an excellent swimmer. Its presence in hilly or montane regions (up to 2100 metres elevation), where watercourses support fewer aquatic fauna, suggests it has an adaptable prey base.

This mongoose is identified by its size, its relatively short tail and its thick fur. Its head is small, its back is hunched and its legs are short and thin. 

Its fur is markedly grizzled ('agouti'), with individual hairs banded from dark brown to pale brown. There is a pale stripe running horizontally from below the ear towards the neck region.

The Crab-eating Mongoose is wide-ranging. Outside the region it occurs in Nepal, Bangladesh, parts of northern India and southern and eastern China (including Taiwan). In Southeast Asia it is to be found in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia.

In Peninsular Malaysia, as of 2016, there are no records south of Ulu Gombak (which is near Kuala Lumpur). It has never been recorded in Singapore.


Fig 1 : This Crab-eating Mongoose was photographed in the late afternoon sun, as it explored an area of primary forest in Peninsular Malaysia.


References : M3, M5

Rayan, D. M. & Shariff, W. M. (2008). New locality records of the Crab-eating Mongoose Herpestes urva in Peninsular Malaysia as revealed by camera-trapping. Small Carnivore Conservation, 39: 25-28.

 

 

Fig 1