Habitat and Ecology
In Lao PDR, this species is found in evergreen forest (including degraded areas), mainly near water; most of the recent records are from hill and mountainous areas (Duckworth et al. 1999). In Thailand, Cambodia and southern Viet Nam this species is found insimilar habitats andalso in deciduous forest and down to the plains (Chutiponget al. 2014, D.H.A. Willcox pers. comm. 2014). In India it occursin lowland wet evergreen forest, secondary forest and areas around industrial areas (e.g., oil refineries). Insome countries, there are records from rice fields and other agricultural areas, and even near human settlements (Pham Trong Anh 1980, Thapa 2013). Little is known about its breeding, although the gestation period is thought to be about nine weeks; probably meaning that this species reproduces more slowly than does Herpestes javanicus (sensu lato; Lekagul and McNeely 1977). It feeds on fish, frogs, crabs, molluscs, insects and crayfish (Van Rompaey 2001).
In some areas it is readily approached by people because ofits apparent near-sightedness (Van Rompaey 2001) and fearlessness (Pocock 1941), but in areas where hunting with projectiles and/or dogs is common it is shy and not approachable, e.g. Lao PDR (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm. 2014). It has lived up to 13 years and four months in captivity (Jones 1982). Wang and Fuller (2001) studied itsecology in a rural agricultural area of southeastern China (near the villageofTaohong in northern Jiangxi province), from April 1993 to November 1994. Wang and Fuller (2003) studied its food habits in this areabetween June 1992 and November 1994, by analysing its faeces; it ate mammals, reptiles, insects and crustaceans. In Taiwan, Chuang and Lee (1997) found that it ate mainly crustaceans, insects, amphibians and reptiles. It remains little studied elsewhere.
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- Least Concern (LC)
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
It occurs in many protected areas across its range.
H. urva is generally grey in color, with a broad white stripe on its neck extending from its cheeks to its chest. Its throat is steel-gray with white ends of its hair, rendering a salt and pepper appearance. Its hind feet possess hairy soles. Its tail is short and homogeneously colored with a fairer tip. The body of the crab-eating mongoose is 36–52 cm (14–20 in) in length, and 1–2.3 kg (2.2–5.1 lb) in weight.
Distribution and habitat
Crab-eating mongooses are common in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, northern Myanmar and northeastern India. They are rare in Bangladesh. In Nepal, this species inhabits subtropical evergreen and moist deciduous forests, and has also been observed on agricultural land near human settlements.
Ecology and behaviour
Crab-eating mongooses are usually active in the mornings and evenings, and were observed in groups of up to four individuals. They are supposed to be good swimmers, and hunt along the banks of streams and close to water.
Despite their common name, their diet consists not only of crabs, but also just about anything else they can catch, including fish, snails, frogs, rodents, birds, reptiles, and insects.
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- Duckworth, J.W. and Timmins, R. J. (2008). "Herpestes urva". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- Sheng, H., ed. (2005). Atlas of Mammals of China (in Chinese). Zhengzhou: Henan Science and Technoledge Press. p. 188. ISBN 7-5349-2936-9.
- Thapa, S (2013). "Observations of Crab-eating Mongoose Herpestes urva in eastern Nepal". Small Carnivore Conservation 49: 31–3.
- Van Rompaey, H. (2001). The Crab-eating mongoose, Herpestes urva. Small Carnivore Conservation 25: 12–17,
- Menon, V. (2003). A field guide to Indian mammals. Penguin India, New Delhi