The falanouc is a mongoose type creature that is native to Madagascar. Its closest extant, or living, relative is the fanaloka, but it is distinct from this animal in many ways. Unlike the fanaloka, the falanouc has no anal or perineal glands. It has non-retractable claws and a mouth structure that consists of backwards sloping premolars and canines. It is thought that this is due to its primary diet of invertebrates such as snails, slugs, and worms.
The falanouc prefers habitats within lowland rainforests in the central and northwest areas of its habitat. It is not known if it is diurnal it nocturnal, but it is considered an unsociable and territorial animal. It is relatively small with an average body length of 1.6 feet, with a tail length of up to 9.4 inches. Although it looks like the mongoose in body shape, its fur color is virtually all brown, unlike the striped fur of the mongoose. During the months of April and May, the falanouc builds up fat within its body, before the arid months of June and July.
Mating season for the falanouc is very short, after which typically one young is born in a burrow. The young mature quickly, and are able to move about with the mother at only two days of age. At nine weeks of age, the young falanouc is able to eat solid food and will leave its mother shortly after this period. Although it matures very quickly, it does not reach its full adult size at the same rate, growing slower than most carnivores of the same size. The falanouc has a conservation status of “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.
Image Caption: Falanouc on display in the Natural History Museum of Genoa. Credit: Mariomassone/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)