Small Carnivores


The order Carnivora comprises over 280 carnivore species that are arranged within sixteen families and assembled into two suborders: the Caniformia and Feliformia. This website is dedicated to the generally lesser- known small carnivore species in the nine families that are covered by the IUCN/SCC Small Carnivore Specialist Group: Mustelidae (weasels, martens, badgers, but excluding otters), Procyonidae (raccoons, coatis), Mephitidae (skunks, stink badgers), Ailuridae (red panda), Herpestidae (mongooses), Eupleridae (Malagasy carnviores), Viverridae (civets, genets, oyans), Prionodontidae (linsangs), and Nandiniidae (African palm civet).

A carnivore phylogeny tree showing the relationships between the 16 families that are arranged into two suborders: the Caniformia and Feliformia

Carnivores all share a distinctive dental feature: the carnassial teeth, which are two teeth (the fourth upper premolar and first lower molar) on each side of the jaw that have sharp cutting edges – these teeth work together like a pair of scissors and enable carnivores to slice meat.