The range of the Melogale personata includes Nepal, north-eastern India, Myanmar (formally Burma), southern most provinces of China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia (Jackson 2001). A subspecies of M. personata, Melogale personata orientalis, is found on the Indonesian island of Java (Colijn 2000).
Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )
Burmese ferret badgers are small weighing between 1 and 3 kg at maturity. Melogale personata have an elongated body that can reach a head and body length ranging from 330 mm to 430 mm long. They have bushy tails between 150 mm to 230 mm long. Their legs resemble a typical badger because they are short with broad paws and large claws used in digging. Melogale personata, like all ferret badgers, have partially webbed toes and ridges on the pads of their feet. These characteristics are believed to be adaptations for climbing. Melogale personata have grayish to brownish fur with a lighter fur on their underside. They have white heads with black markings including a black band across their muzzle and another across the forehead between their ears. Burmese ferret badgers have thinner black stripes on their face than the Chinese ferret badger. The white dorsal stripe of the Burmese ferret badger runs from its head to the base of the tail. This distinguishes it from the Chinese ferret badger because in the Chinese species the dorsal stripe does not reach the base of the tail (Jackson 2001).
Range mass: 1 to 3 kg.
Range length: 330 to 430 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Habitat and Ecology
The Burmese ferret badger is a terrestrial species that can live in forests, savannas, or grasslands (Nowak & Paradiso 1983).
Habitat Regions: terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
The Burmese ferret badger forages primarily on the ground, but they do spend some time in trees hunting insects and snails. Melogale personata has larger teeth than the other Melogale species. The massive teeth of M. personata are thought to be an adaptation for crushing hard shelled insects and mollusks (primarily snails). The Burmese ferret badger also eats cockroaches, grasshoppers, and earthworms. They also prey upon small mammals, including young rats, frogs, toads, small lizards, carrion, small birds, bird eggs, plant matter, and fruit (Jackson 2001).
Animal Foods: mammals; amphibians; reptiles; eggs; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks; terrestrial worms
Plant Foods: leaves; fruit
Primary Diet: omnivore
Known prey organisms
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Burmese ferret badgers have lived ten years in captivity. However, there are no data on the lifespan of Burmese ferret badgers in the wild (Jackson 2001).
Status: captivity: 10 (high) years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Researchers in Thailand reproted the average litter size of M. personata is 3 cubs. Burmese ferret badgers are born in burrows, just before the rainy season. They are fed in the burrow for two to three weeks by their mother. Beyond this virtually nothing is known about the reproductive cycle and life history of M. personata (Pei & Wang 1995).
Average number of offspring: 3.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; viviparous
Average number of offspring: 3.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Although M. personata is not currently listed as threatened or endangered, habitat destruction and degradation due to high rates of deforestation in its range could be a significant threat to its survival and success. Melogale personata orientalis, a subspecies of M. personata, is described as low risk - near threatened, meaning they are close to being considered vulnerable and may need future conservation attention (Colijn 2000).
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Badgers including M. personata are suspected to be able to transmit tuberculosis (TB) to cattle; however, research has not been able to determine how this may take place (Hutchinson 2000).
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Lepcha and Bhotia peoples in northeast India keep M. personata in their homes to control cockroaches and other insect and rodent pests. M. personata is hunted and trapped in southeast Asia. Like all ferret badgers, the Burmese ferret badger is used as a source of food, fur, and medicines by the local people (Jackson 2001).
Positive Impacts: food ; source of medicine or drug ; controls pest population
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The Burmese ferret-badger has a head and body length of 35–40 centimetres (14–16 in), a tail length of 15–21 centimetres (5.9–8.3 in) and a body weight of 1.5–3 kilograms (3.3–6.6 lb). The fur ranges from fawn brown to dark brown, with a white dorsal stripe. The face is marked with black and white patches, which are unique to each individual. The rear part of the tail is whitish.
Three subspecies are recognized:
- M. p. personata, northeastern India and Bangladesh to southern Burma and Thailand
- M. p. nipalensis, Nepal
- M. p. pierrei, Cambodia, southern China, Laos and Viet Nam.
- Duckworth, J.W., Timmins, R.J., Long, B., Yonzon, P., Roberton, S. & Tran Quang Phuong (2008). Melogale personata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 21 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of data deficient
- Lariviére, S. & Jennings, A. P. (2009). Family Mustelidae (Weasels and Relatives). In: Wilson, D. E., Mittermeier, R. A., (Hrsg.). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 1: Carnivores. Lynx Edicions, 2009. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1