Palawan stink badger (Mydaus marchei)

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Palawan stink badger
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Palawan stink badger fact file

Palawan stink badger description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderCarnivora
FamilyMephitidae
GenusMydaus (1)

This peculiar-looking mammal has an elongated, mobile snout that looks like that of a pig (3) (4), but a well-furred body and clawed, stout forelimbs that look more like that of a badger (3). The soft fur on the back of the Palawan stink badger is brown to black, peppered with a few silver or white hairs, and the fur on the underside is brown (3). It has a pointed face, small ears and eyes, and well-developed anal scent glands (3), which, as its name suggests, secrete a foul-smelling fluid (4). The Palawan stink badger is one of only two stink badgers in existence, (animals belonging to the genus Mydaus), the other species being the Sunda stink badger (Mydaus javanensis) (2).

Synonyms
Suillotaxus marchei.
Size
Head-body length: 32 – 46 cm (2)
Tail length: 1.5 – 4.5 cm (2)
Weight
2.5 kg (2)
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Palawan stink badger biology

Active by both day and night, the Palawan stink badger moves with a somewhat cumbersome walk (2), intermittently lowering its head to the ground as if smelling for the correct direction (4). The Palawan stink badger has a number of lines of defence. It may turn its hind parts towards the threatening animal, approach to a suitable distance and then squirt a jet of foul-smelling, yellowish fluid from its anal glands. At other times, the Palawan stink badger may ‘play dead’, before ejecting the stinking secretion over the unsuspecting intruder (2). The putrid stench of the secretion does not dissipate for some time (4).

Like the other stink badger species, the Palawan stink badger probably rests in burrows, either dug by itself or one excavated by a porcupine (2). While the diet of stink badgers is not clear, it is thought that they feed mainly on insects that are encountered as they walk along the ground or amongst the undergrowth. Captive stink badgers have fed on worms, insects and the entrails of chickens (2).

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Palawan stink badger range

The Palawan stink badger occurs in the Palawan and Calamian Islands, Philippines (2).

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Palawan stink badger habitat

Grassland thickets, cultivated areas (2), as well as forest, are all suitable habitats for the Palawan stink badger. It is often found close to rivers and creeks, where it is seen among vegetation on the banks (4).

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Palawan stink badger status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Palawan stink badger threats

The Palawan stink badger is threatened by the loss of its habitat, as humans encroach on its already restricted distribution (1) (2). Hunting may also pose a threat; some local people eat the flesh of stink badgers, provided the scent glands are removed immediately after the animal has been killed, or sometimes, shavings of the stink badger’s skin mixed with water is drunk in the belief it is a cure for fever or rheumatism (2).

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Palawan stink badger conservation

There are currently no conservation measures known to be in place for this vulnerable species.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For further information on biodiversity and conservation in the Philippines see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Nowak, R.M. (2005) Walker’s Carnivores of the World. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
  3. Hwang, Y.T. and Larivière, S. (2004) Mydaus marchei. Mammalian Species, 757: 1 - 3.
  4. Rabor, D.S. (1986) Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna. Natural Resources Management Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources and University of the Philippines.
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Palawan stink badger  
Palawan stink badger

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