Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Small Indian civet

Viverricula indica, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803

(In Thai: ชะมดเช็ด)

The small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) is a civet found in South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern by IUCN because of its widespread geographical distribution, widespread habitat use and healthy populations living in agricultural and secondary landscapes of many range states.

The small Indian civet is a monotypic genus.


The small Indian civet is 21 to 23 cm in head and body size and has a rather coarse fur that is brownish grey to pale yellowish brown, with usually several longitudinal black or brown bands on the back and longitudinal rows of spots on the sides. In some specimens both lines and spots are indistinct, and the dorsal bands are occasionally wanting. Usually there are five or six distinct bands on the back and four or five rows of spots on each side. The neck markings are rather variable. Generally there are two dark stripes from behind the ear to the shoulders, and often a third in front, crossing the throat. The underfur is brown or grey, often grey on the upper parts of the body and brown on the lower. The grey hairs on the upper parts are often tipped with black. The head is grey or brownish grey, the chin often brown. The ears are short and rounded with a dusky mark behind each ear, and one in front of each eye. The feet are brown or black. The tapering tail is 15 to 17 cm long with alternating black and whitish rings, seven to nine of each colour.

Distribution and habitat

Small Indian civets are known to occur in south and central China, Hong Kong, most of India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. No search has been made for recent records from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Peninsular Malaysia, Java or Bali, areas where they were historically recorded. Their current status in Singapore is unclear. They have been introduced to Madagascar.

Small Indian civets have been recorded in semi-evergreen and deciduous forest, mixed deciduous forest, bamboo forest, scrubby areas, grasslands and riverine habitat.

Ecology and behavior

Small Indian civets are nocturnal, mostly terrestrial and insectivorous. They inhabit holes in the ground, under rocks or in thick bush.


They feed on rats, mice, birds, snakes, fruit, roots and carrion. Occasionally they carry off poultry.


The female has usually four or five young at a birth. The life span is eight to nine years.


People of Traspur village in Assam hunt it for meat and purify its skin into medicine.


Viverricula indica is listed on CITES Appendix III. In Myanmar, it is totally protected under the Wildlife Act of 1994.

Taxonomic notes

Viverricula rasse described by Horsfield from Java is considered a variety of Viverricula indica.

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Scientific classification

Viverricula indica

Common names

  • German:
    • Kleine Indische Zibetkatze
    • Rasse
  • English:
    • Oriental civet
    • Small Indian civet
  • Spanish:
    • Civeta enana
    • Rasa
  • French:
    • Petite civette de l’Inde
    • Civette rasse
    • Civette Indienne
  • Italian: Civetta indiana
  • Dutch: Rassé
  • Russian:
    • Малая цивета
    • расса
  • Swedish: Liten indisk sibetkatt
  • Thai: ชะมดเช็ด


  • Viverricula indica baptistæ, Reginald Innes Pocock, 1933

    Range: Bhutan and Upper Bengal to Assam

  • Viverricula indica bengalensis, Thomas Hardwicke & John Edward Gray, 1832

    Range: Northern India, south of the Ganges, from Calcutta to Gujerat and possibly Sind

  • Viverricula indica deserti, John James Lewis Bonhote, 1898

    Range: Rajasthan (Indian)

  • Viverricula indica indica, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803

    Range: Southern India from the Western to the Eastern Ghats and as far north as Lake Chilka on the east coast

  • Viverricula indica mayori, Reginald Innes Pocock, 1933

    Range: Sri Lanka

  • Viverricula indica muriavensis, Henri Jacob Victor Sody, 1931

    Range: Java and Bali

  • Viverricula indica pallida, John Edward Gray, 1831

    Range: Southern China and Taiwan

  • Viverricula indica thai, Cecil Boden Kloss, 1919

    Range: Thailand, Indochina and Myanmar.

  • Viverricula indica wellsi, Reginald Innes Pocock, 1933

    Range: Kangra, Kumaun and the United Provinces of India;


  • Civetta indica, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1803)
  • Viverricula malaccensis non, Johann Friedrich Gmelin (1788)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Small Indian civet

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Small Indian civet
Viverricula indica
Small Indian civet area

Range Map

Distribution map of Small Indian civet, Viverricula indica in Thailand
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Salak Pra Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ta Phraya National Park
  • Thong Pha Phum National Park
Range map of Viverricula indica in Thailand