Mydaus marchei, Huet, 1887

Don E. Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier, 2009, Mephitidae, Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 1 Carnivores, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 532-562 : 555

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.5684751


persistent identifier

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scientific name

Mydaus marchei


2. View Plate 31: Mephitidae

Palawan Stink Badger

Mydaus marchei View in CoL

French: Télagon de Palawan / German: Palawan-Stinkdachs / Spanish: Melandro de Palawan

Other common names: Teledu, Skunk Badger

Taxonomy. Mydaus marchei Huet, 1887 ,

I'ile Palaouan [Philippine Isles, Palawan].

The species was once considered a separate genus, Suillotaxus, due to its smaller size, broader upper second premolar, and a shorter tail than that found in M. javanensis. However, this variation was later deemed to be no greater than that found in other species of the family. Monotypic.

Distribution. Philippines (Palawan I, Calamian I). View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 32-49 cm, tail 1-5— 4-5 cm; weight 844-2490 g. Palawan Stink Badgers have a sharp face with an elongated and mobile muzzle. The body is squat but heavy, their legs are short, and they walk on plantigrade feet. The claws on the front feet are elongated, curved, and strong. The inner digits of the forepaws are joined by webbing and a muscle extending towards the tips. Stink badgers have small eyes and essentially vestigial external pinnae. The white stripes down the back can be divided, single and narrow, or absent. Like other members of the family the anal scent glands are well-developed and produce a noxious odor. The cheek teeth are rounded with low cusps rather than sectorial, and the first upper molaris larger than the last upper premolar.

Habitat. Palawan Stink Badgers have been detected in mixed agriculture and secondary forest throughout Palawan as well as in residential and cultivated areas. They have been found in grasslands and grassland/forest mosaics, grassland-shrub, natural damp grassland, and open damp soil along streams. Occasionally, they have been reported in rice fields and freshwater swamp forests where they forage. Shrubs are commonly used for shelter. They also have been seen foraging along roads and paths.

Food and Feeding. Their diet consists of soft animal matter such as worms of every kind, birds’ eggs, carrion, insects (including crickets and small beetles), and insect grubs. They also consume small freshwater crabs as well as various plant parts. Their mobile snout and long claws are used for finding insects and freshwater molluscs. While foraging, stink badgers move slowly, rooting around in the uppersoil layer using their snout to dig out grubs.

Activity patterns. Palawan Stink Badger is nocturnal, but has been seen active both day and night. While walking they are ungainly and awkward, but when startled can maintain a steady trot for 90 m. Even at a trot they are no faster than a walking human. Stink badgers walk with left and right feet apart, and hindfeet usually in line with front feet.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. These stink badger are not aggressive. When threatened, they exhibit various threat behaviors. Stink badgers snarl, show their teeth, and stamp their forefeet on the ground in a similar way to North American skunks. They also have been observed to feign death (with the anal area directed at the observer). As a last resort they will squirt a yellowish fluid from their anal glands. The musk is reportedly pungent, but not offensive, smelling faintly of almonds and stink ants. The Palawan Stink Badgeralso leaves a scent behind in its wanderings, suggesting that the discharge from its anal glands may be used for more than just defense. Little has been reported about their home ranges and movement within them. When not active, stink badgers take refuge in underground dens.

Breeding. Little has been recorded regarding the breeding habits ofthis species. Palawan Stink Badgers have six teats, four pectoral and two inguinal. Likely there are 2-3 young in a litter, which is born in the den. Adults can be seen year round whereas young have been seen from November through March.

Status and Conservation. Not listed on CITES. The IUCN Red List considers them as Least Concern. The species has a restricted geographic range, but they are common where they occur, and it has been suggested that the former vulnerable listing is not justified. Humans sometimes eat stink badgers. They also are potential prey for Common Palm Civets, Leopard Cats, and Malay Civets. They have been found infected with the nematode Blattophila, and the pentastomid Waddycephalus teretiusculus. These stink badgers eat insects that harm tree growth and agriculture.

Bibliography. Esselstyn et al. (2004), Grimwood (1976), Hoogstraal (1951), Huet (1887), Hwang & Lariviére (2004), Jentink (1895), Kruuk (2000), Lawrence (1939), Long (1978, 1981), Long & Killingley (1983), Rabor (1986), Sanborn (1952), Self & Kuntz (1967), Wozencraft (2005).














Mydaus marchei

Don E. Wilson & Russell A. Mittermeier 2009

Mydaus marchei

Huet 1887
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