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Monday Mustelid - Galictis vittata Edition

It is roasty today. Too roasty to be outside.

The Greater Grison (Galictis vittata) is native to Central and South America, and can be found as far north as Mexico and as far south as Argentina, although the bulk of their range is situated in the neotropical regions of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. They are sometimes kept as household pets because of their usefulness at keeping down the population of pests, and do quite well when they are raised from infancy by humans.


Adult Greater Grisons have grizzly gray coats, a kind of salt-and-pepper appearance, with black faces and a white stripe that separates the black bits from the gray along their head and neck. In the wild, adults can grow up to 24 inches (60 cm) in body length and weigh up to 8.4 pounds (3.8 kg). In captivity, Greater Grisons can put on a little more weight. They have muscular forelegs and webbed toes. There are currently four recognized subspecies:

  • Galictis vittata vittata (northern part of South America)
  • Galictis vittata andina (Bolivia and Peru)
  • Galictis vittata brasiliensis (Brazil)
  • Galictis vittata canaster (Central America)

The diet of Greater Grisons consists of smaller mammals, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and birds. While they are carnivores, they are also opportunistic and will eat basically whatever they want, including fruit. They hunt alone and in pairs, and will usually try to grip their prey and bite it on the back of the neck to finish it. Greater Grisons are most active during the day, and spend their nights in abandoned burrows dug by other animals, or under tree roots or in old logs.


The mating season of the Greater Grison seems to comprise about half the year, with offspring being born from May to October. It’s possible that Greater Grisons form monogamous mating pairs, although more study is needed to know for sure. After a gestation period of about 39 days, female Greater Grisons will give birth to a litter of one to four young, though the average litter size is just one. The young are born completely helpless, though they grow quickly, and will reach almost their adult size by four months.


Greater Grisons are mostly terrestrial, but they are good swimmers and are able to climb trees as well. Both wild and captive Greater Grisons have been observed to be playful and inquisitive, but they will release a smelly musk from their musk glands when threatened. They communicate with each other through scent marking and vocalizations, like barks, squeals and growls. They are even known to make a purring noise while being stroked. They are considered to be a species of least concern by the IUCN.

Source for all images used in this post.

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