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a family of mammals of the order Carnivora. The Viverridae are predominantly small, slight animals with short legs and long tails; many of the Viverridae are similar in appearance to representatives of the marten family. Some Viverridae have special glands located near the anus that secrete an odoriferous substance, civet. There are 36 (or 37) genera comprising approximately 75 species (the largest family in the Carnivora order). The Viverridae are distributed in South Asia, Africa (including Madagascar), and southwestern Europe. They lead a terrestrial life, although some dwell in trees. They feed on small animals and sometimes on fruits and nuts. The basic genera include Genetta (six species), Viverra (three species), Binturong (one species), Fossa (one species), Ichneumons (eight species), Mungo (one species), the African civet (Civettictis, one species), and the African palm civet (Nandinia, one species). Many Viverridae are hunted for civet, which is used in the perfume industry and in medicine. Some Viverridae are bred in captivity to obtain civet.
REFERENCEMammals of the World, vol. 2. Baltimore, 1964.
I. I. SOKOLOV