With Mondays come Mustelids.
The Javan Ferret-badger (Melogale orientalis) can be found only on the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java. They prefer the hills and mountains of the islands to the plains, and they are shy animals that are not often sighted outside of the forests. There are currently two subspecies:
- Melogale orientalis orientalis (eastern Java)
- Melogale orientalis sundaicus (western Java)
Javan Ferret-badgers have long tapered noses and elongated bodies. Their coats can vary in color from gray to tawny, but are most often reddish-brown. They have white markings on their faces that are reminiscent of their larger badger cousins, and the claws on their front feet are longer than the claws on their hind feet. They can grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) in body length with a 7-inch (17 cm) tail. They weigh about 4.4 pounds (2 kg).
The diet of Javan Ferret-badgers consists mainly of small mammals, birds and their eggs, amphibians, insects and fruit, and they will also scavenge carrion when they can. They dig through leaf litter to turn up their prey, but don’t tend to dig their own burrows. They prefer to inhabit burrows that had previously been dug by other animals. Javan Ferret-badgers are likely prey for larger animals within their range, but no instances of predation have been recorded.
Very little is known about the reproductive habits of the Javan Ferret-badger, as they have not been widely studied and are hard to find. Juveniles and adults have been spotted in groups together, which suggests that there may be some kind of familial group structure. Like other ferret-badgers, Javan Ferret-badgers likely give birth to litters of one to four offspring each year.
The IUCN lists Javan Ferret-badgers as “data deficient,” meaning that further study would be required to determine whether or not their population is under threat. Their habitat is threatened by deforestation, and while the Javan Ferret-badger demonstrates some adaptability regarding forest habitat, that could potentially have a significant negative effect on the health of the species.
Source for all images used in this post.