(Eupleres goudotii)
The falanouc is an unusual-looking mammal that looks like a cross between a civet and a mongoose. It has a long, narrow head with a pointed muzzle, a relatively large, stocky body and a large bushy tail. Falanoucs are thought to be predominantly nocturnal, spending the hours of daylight resting in burrows or rocky crevices. The species is widespread in remaining suitable habitat, although rare throughout its range, with a population of fewer than 2,500 mature individuals. Major threats include deforestation and draining of marshlands, excessive hunting, and predation and competition from introduced animals.
Urgent Conservation Actions
Improvement of the protection status of all reserves known to contain populations, creation of additional reserves, and the creation of an internationally coordinated captive breeding programme.
Media from ARKive
ARKive video - Falanouc - overview
ARKive image - Falanouc
ARKive image - Falanouc searching for earthworms
ARKive image - Falanouc digging for earthworms
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Carnivora
Family: Eupleridae
Recent molecular studies indicate that all Malagasy carnivores evolved from a single ancestor that is thought to have colonised Madagascar from mainland Africa 18-24 million years ago. The closest living relatives of the Malagasy carnivores are the African mongooses (Herpestidae). The falanouc, the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) and the Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana) are thought to be the most ancient representatives of the Malagasy carnivore group, with Madagascar’s more mongoose-like carnivores (Galidia, Galidictis and Mungotictis) representing a more recent evolutionary radiation. The falanouc is the only living species in the genus Eupleres.
Head and body length: 450-650 mm
Tail length: 220-250 mm
Weight: 2-4 kg
The falanouc is an unusual-looking mammal that resembles the civet in some features and the mongoose in others. It has a long, narrow head with a pointed muzzle, and a relatively large, stocky body. The tail is covered with long hairs that give it a bushy appearance. The colouration of the soft, woolly fur varies between the two subspecies; western falanouc males are brownish and females are greyish, while both sexes of the eastern subspecies are fawn-coloured above and lighter below. The teeth are small and resemble those of insectivores rather than carnivores. Indeed, the species was classified as an insectivore until it was reinterpreted as a morphologically unusual mongoose. The feet are relatively large and end in long claws that do not fully retract.
Although some activity has been observed during the day, falanoucs are thought to be predominantly nocturnal, spending the hours of daylight resting in burrows or rocky crevices. Individuals are believed to defend large territories, the boundaries of which are marked with scent from glands around their anus and neck. The species is generally considered to be solitary, although it has occasionally been seen in small family-sized groups. The diet consists almost exclusively of earthworms, which individuals dig up with their long claws. Other invertebrates (slugs, snails and insect larvae) and amphibians are also eaten occasionally. In the autumn up to 800 g of fat can be accumulated in the tail. This had led to suggestions that the species may hibernate during the winter, although active individuals have been observed at this time of year. Mating takes place in July and August, and 1-2 young are born between November and January. The offspring are born in a well developed state, and within two days they are able to follow their mother during foraging. Infants are weaned at around nine weeks of age.
Generally found in dense humid lowland rainforests and marshes. The western subspecies is occasionally also reported from dry deciduous forests.
The species is widespread in remaining suitable habitat, although rare throughout its range. The eastern subspecies occurs at low densities in at least eleven localities in eastern Madagascar. The western subspecies is known only from a single locality in northwestern Madagascar.
Population Estimate
The population is thought to number fewer than 2,500 mature individuals.
Population Trend
Classified as Endangered (EN C2a) on the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. E. g. goudotii is also classified as EN C2a, while, E. g. major is classified as EN B1+2bc. The latter has an area of occupancy of less than 500 km², comprised of only one confirmed locality and with continuing deterioration of its known habitat.
Deforestation and draining of the marshlands has been the major cause of the species’ decline. It is also at risk from excessive hunting for its meat by humans, and predation by domestic dogs. It has been suggested that competition with the introduced small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) may have also played a role in the species’ decline.
Conservation Underway
The species is listed on Appendix II of CITES and occurs in a number of protected areas in Madagascar. There are records of the eastern subspecies from the Mananara Man and the Biosphere Reserve, Reserve Naturelle Integrale No. 11 de Andohahela, the Reserve Speciale de Analamazaotra-Perinet, and Masoala National Park. The western subspecies is known to exist in the Reserve Naturelle Integrale de Tsaratanana southeast of Ambanja, and may also occur in the Reserve Speciale de Manongarivo. The species is difficult to maintain in captivity. One individual of the eastern subspecies has been kept at the Parc Zoologique de Tsimbazaza, Antananarivo (Madagascar). There has been limited success with captive breeding of the western subspecies at this locality, with successful breeding having been achieved three times from a total of nine falanoucs kept. There are no current records for the species in captivity.
Conservation Proposed
The IUCN/SSC Mustelid and Viverrid Specialist Group recommends the improvement of the protection status of all reserves known to have populations of Eupleres, and the declaration of further marshlands as conservation areas. It also states that the species needs complete nation-wide protection, and recommends that an internationally coordinated captive breeding programme be initiated.
Dollar, L. 2000. Eupleres goudotii. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 01 August 2006.

Dollar, L. 1999. Notice of Eupleres goudotii in the rainforest of southeastern Madagascar. Small Carnivore Conservation. The Newsletter and Journal of the IUCN/SSC Mustelid, Viverrid and Procyonid Specialist Group 20: 30-31.

Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker’s Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore and London.

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/SSC Mustelid and Viverrid Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Distribution map based on data provided by the IUCN Global Mammal Assessment.

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