Melogale everetti is only found on Mt. Kinabalu on the Northern tip of the island of Borneo. Mt. Kinabalu is in Kinabalu Park in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. It is the only ferret badger to inhabit this region. (Jackson, 1997; Protected Areas Programme, 1999)
Melogale everetti occurs on Mt. Kinabalu at elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 m. It is a little-studied species, so information on the particulars of its habitat are lacking. However, the habitat of the genus Melogale is wooded hillsides and sub-tropical and tropical forests. Considering the supporting information, the latter of the three is the most logical habitat description for this particular ferret badger, although there seems to be no information stating this specifically. (Jackson, 1997; Nowak, 1995; Protected Areas Programme, 1999)
Melogale everetti is small and long compared to other species of ferret badger. They weigh between one and two kg, and are between 330 and 440 mm in length. The tail is long and bushy and can be from 152 to 230 mm in length.
Ferret badgers have short legs and broad feet with strong digging claws that are characteristic of badgers. There are ridges that run along the pads of the feet and the toes are partially webbed. These are thought to be climbing adaptations.
The defining characteristic of a ferret badger is the white or yellowish ferret-like mask on the face. A dorsal stripe is also present that can range in color from white to red. The rest of the body can range from grey-brown to dark black with a lighter under side.
Information on the mating system of this species is not available.
The breeding season of the genus Melogale is long and the females are actually able to reproduce at any point in the year. Males, however, undergo a period of non-reproduction. During this time (from around September to December) the male ferret badger ceases sperm production.
Females give birth to litters of 1 to 5 offspring after a gestation of 57 to 80 days. Young are weaned between 2 and 3 months of age.
Little is known about the parental care in this species. Mothers care for their young in a burrow until they are able to forage for themselves. Nursing lasts for between 2 and 3 months. It is not known exactally when the young become independent of the mother, or whether the father plays any part in parental care. (Jackson, 1997; Nowak, 1995)
There appears to be no information on the lifespan of M. everetti either in the wild or in captivity. However, a very similar species, Melogale moschata, the Chinese ferret badger, is said to have still been living after 10 years and 6 months in captivity. (Nowak, 1995)
Ferret badgers are said to be fierce when provoked or cornered. The bulk of their activity transpires at night but are also active at dusk. When M. everetti isn't out foraging it resides in a burrow. Ferret badgers don't dig their own burrows but capitalize on pre-existing burrows dug by other animals. (Jackson, 1997; Nowak, 1995)
The home range size for these animals is not known.
Melogale everetti exhibits warning coloration and exudes a pungent odor from its scent glands if pressed. These forms of communication are similar to, but not as extreme as, those of skunks.
As is true of virtually all mammals, visual signals, tactile cues, scents, and vocalizations probably play some role in communication between conspecifics. However, because there seem have been no observations of the behavior of M. everetti in the wild or in captivity published, it is mpt possible to comment further on any specific forms of communication used by these animals. (Nowak, 1995)
All Melogale species appear to be very omnivorous. Ferret badgers forage on the ground mostly for invertebrates, amphibians, insects, fruit and carrion. They are also formidable climbers and have been known to forage in trees as well. (Jackson, 1997; Jackson, 1997; Jackson, 1997)
Once again this is a field that has not been explored in reference to M. everetti. However, it is likely that because of their predatory behavior, these animals affect the populations of prey organisms. To the extent that these badgers must dig through the upper levels of soils to obtain food, these animals probably contribute to help to aerate the soil.
People travel from all over the world to visit Kinabalu Park where M. everetti resides. Kinabalu Park has a rich diversity of flora and fauna that attracts tourists. This tourism generates money for the surrounding area and the native people. Also, these animals may help humans in more direct ways. The Burmese ferret badger (Melogale personata) is said to be welcomed into the homes of the natives because their rid the premises of unwanted pests such as insects and invertebrates. (Jackson, 1997; Protected Areas Programme, 1999)
There appears to be no information has been published on any negative affects of M. everetti upon humans.
The range of these animals is very limited, and as such, the population of these ferret badgers seems to be one which could easily be erradicated if proper steps are not taken to conserve its habitat. Although CITES and the US Endangered Species act don't consider the species any special risk, IUCN lists it as vulnerable.
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Nicole Edmison (author), Humboldt State University, Brian Arbogast (editor), Humboldt State University.
uses sound to communicate
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
flesh of dead animals.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
union of egg and spermatozoan
Referring to a burrowing life-style or behavior, specialized for digging or burrowing.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
digs and breaks up soil so air and water can get in
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Burton, J., B. Pearson. 1987. The Collins Guide to the Rare Mammals of the World. Lexington, Mass.: The Stephen Greene Press.
Jackson, S. 1997. "Badger Pages: The ferret badgers (Melogale spp.)" (On-line). Accessed December 3, 2003 at http://www.badgers.org.uk/badgerpages/ferret-badgers-01.html.
Nowak, R. 1995. "Walker's Mammals of the World Online" (On-line). Accessed October 31, 2001 at http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walker/carnivora.mustelidae.melogale.html.
Protected Areas Programme, 1999. "World Heritage Sites" (On-line). Accessed October 31, 2001 at http://www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/kinabalu.html.
Walker, E. 1964. Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.