Mydaus javanensis has a limited, isolated distribution on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and North Natuna Islands (Nowak 1997; Long and Killingley 1983).
Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )
Other Geographic Terms: island endemic
Mydaus javanensis are classified as true badgers. They were once classifed with the skunks because of their black and white coloration and strong scent glands, but the accesory cusp on the inner projection of the upper fourth premolar and the large front digging feet places M. javanensis with Meles and Taxidea.
Coloration of M. javanensis varies from dark black to blackish brown. All have a white patch on the top of the head. A white mid-dorsal stripe extends from the patch on the head and is either interrupted or extends posteriorly down the spine to the tail. Fur is sparse on the belly. Hair on the neck stands nearly erect. Their eyes are small and the pinna (or ear flap) are vestigial.
The body of M. javanensis is small, squat, heavy, and nearly plantigrade. They have a long, pointed, mobile snout, short, muscular legs, long, strong recurved claws on the front feet, and a short tail. The musculature forms a web that extends to the base of the foreclaws. The toes are bound together as far as the base of the claws. Their nose to tailbase ranges from 370 to 510mm and their tail length ranges from 50 to 75mm. All M. javanensis have a well-developed anal scent gland.
The cheek teeth have low, rounded cusps with circular formed crowns (Nowak 1997; Long and Killingley 1983).
Range mass: 1.4 to 3.6 kg.
Range length: 370 to 510 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Habitat and Ecology
This species feeds on birds'eggs, carrion, insects, worms and plants (Long and Killingley 1983, Neal and Cheeseman 1996, Payneet al.1985). Litter size is usually two to three (Wood 1865). It is nocturnal, sheltering in underground burrows during the day (Hwang and Larivire 2003).
It is currently unknown why the species has such a patchy distribution, especially on Borneo. The species' pattern of occurrence might be linked to earthworm density, soil characters, level of (perhaps mostly past) hunting and/or other factors.
Mydaus javanensis are montane and are seldom found on the plains. They are found often above 7,000 ft. in elevation, but may occur below 4,000 ft. and even as low as 850 ft. in West Java. Most M. javanensis inhabit shallow burrows underground. However, in Borneo they inhabit caves at high elevations (Long and Killingley 1983).
Range elevation: 250 (low) m.
Average elevation: 2100 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; mountains
Mydaus javanensis uses its strong forelimbs, long claws, and 'pig-like' snout to root through soils and feed. At night, these animals forage for insects and worms. They feed mainly on invertebrates and plant material (Nowak 1997; Long and Killingley 1983).
Foods eaten include: worms, especially earth worms, insects, insect grubs, bird eggs, carrion and plant material.
Animal Foods: eggs; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms
Plant Foods: fruit
Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore , Vermivore)
When endangered, M. javanensis uses its well-developed scent gland. It will raise its tail and then emit a pungent, foul, milky green secretion. The secretion can be ejected with some accuracy. The secretion is nauseating and damaging when it comes in contact with the predator. Humans have fainted from the stench. Dogs have been asphyxiated by the fluid or even blinded when struck in the eye. Mydaus javanensis is quite fierce and growls and bites when handled.
It is a slow mover and can only run away at a trot (about the speed of a human's walk) for about 100 meters (Jackson 2001; Nowak 1997; Long and Killingley 1983).
- Javan hawk-eagles (Spizaetus bartelsi)
- civets (Viverridae)
- tigers (Panthera tigris)
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Females have six teats-four pectoral and two inguinal. They are estimated to give birth to two or three offspring per litter. The litter is brought up in the underground burrows (Jackson 2001; Long and Killingley 1983).
Average number of offspring: 2-3.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- Least Concern (LC)
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
Indonesian law has protected M. javanensis since 1979. Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park (15,000 ha.) in Java and Danau Sentarum National Park (80,000 ha.) in West Kalimantan, Borneo are two protected park areas where M. javanensis are found (Jackson 2001).
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
As they turn up soil to forage for insects and worms, M. javanensis often uproot freshly planted seeds on agricultural lands. The roots of crop plants may also be eaten, which damages sprouting plants (Long and Killingley 1983).
Negative Impacts: crop pest
In the past, natives of the island diluted the fluid from the scent gland to manufacture perfumes for their Javanese sultans.
Some islanders will hunt and kill M. javanensis, immediately remove the scent glands and eat the meat.
Drink mixtures of the skin shavings and water have also been made as traditional 'cures' for fever or rheumatism (Jackson 2001; Long and Killingley 1983).
Positive Impacts: food ; source of medicine or drug
Sunda stink badger
The Sunda stink badger (Mydaus javanensis), also called the Javan stink badger, teledu, Malay stink badger and Indonesian stink badger, is a mammal native to Indonesia and Malaysia. Despite the common name, they are not closely related to true badger, and are, instead, Old World relatives of the skunks.
Sunda stink badgers have a similar body shape to badgers, but are significantly smaller, being 37 to 52 cm (15 to 20 in) in total length, and weighing from 1.3 to 3.6 kg (2.9 to 7.9 lb). Their fur is coarse, and black or very dark brown over most of the body, with a white stripe running from the top of the head to the tail. The tail is short, measuring about 3.6 cm (1.4 in), and is covered in pure white fur. The width of the stripe varies considerably between individuals, but is usually narrow, and may be discontinuous. As the name indicates, stink badgers have an anal scent gland that secretes a foul-smelling substance, which the animal can spray up to 15 cm (5.9 in). Females have six teats.
Distribution and habitat
Sunda stink badgers are found in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and the northern Natuna Islands. They typically inhabit forest edges or areas of secondary forest, often at elevations of over 2,000 m (6,600 ft), and only rarely on lowland plains. However, they have been reported as low as 250 m (820 ft) above sea level on Java, and also at relatively low elevations in Sarawak. Three subspecies are recognised:
- M. j. javanensis - Java and mainland Sumatra
- M. j. lucifer - Borneo
- M. j. ollula - Natuna Islands
Behaviour and biology
Sunda stink badgers are omnivorous and nocturnal. The animal portion of their diet consists of invertebrates, eggs, and carrion. At night, they root through soft soil using their snout and claws, searching for worms and ground-dwelling insects. During the day, they sleep in short burrows, less than 60 cm (24 in) in length, which they may either dig themselves or take over from other animals, such as porcupines. They have been reported to give birth to litters of two or three young.
- Long, B., Hon, J., Azlan J. & Duckworth, J. W. (2008). Mydaus javanensis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
- Dragoo, J. W.; Honeycutt, R. L. (1997). "Systematics of mustelid-like carnivores". Journal of Mammalogy 78 (2): 426–443. doi:10.2307/1382896.
- Hwang, Y. T.; Larivière, S. (2003). "Mydaus javanensis". Mammalian Species (723): 1–3. doi:10.1644/723.