African Linsang, Poiana richardsonii

The African linsang (Poiana richardsonii) is also known as the oyan and is native to Africa. Its range includes Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon, among other areas. It can be found at elevations of up to 1640 feet in North-east Gabon and as high as 3116 feet in Zaire. This linsang prefers a habitat within thick forests and jungles.

The African linsang resembles a cat, but is classified in the civet family of Viverridae. Both males and females can grow to be up to 17 inches in length, excluding the long, striped tail that can reach nearly the same lentgh. Although their bodies are long, they only weigh an average of 1.5 pounds. Their thick fur can be creamy or white in color on the underbelly, with dark circles appearing on the back. Some individuals can have dark, thin stripes that extend from the nose to the base of the tail.

Because the African linsang is arboreal, it will spend much of its time in trees and will build nests as high as 6.5 feet above the ground, but they only remain at one nest for a short period. It is a nocturnal species that can live alone or with one other linsang. The mating habits of the African linsang are not completely known, but they can have one or two young per year. Its main diet consists of insects, vegetation, fruits, nuts, and small birds. It is thought that although this linsang is omnivorous, it probably does not often hunt for small vertebrates.

The only known predator of the African linsang is humans, although it is thought that snakes, large carnivores, and owls may hunt them as well. It is a populous species with a ride range, and so it is listed as of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Image Caption: Taxidermied African Linsang (Poiana richardsonii) at the Natural History Museum in London. Credit: Emőke Dénes/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 2.5)