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The shy, secretive falanouc is a nocturnal and crepuscular animal, that is mainly solitary, although small groups have also been observed. They defend large territories, marking the area with scents secreted from glands around the anus and neck. Probably Madagascar's most specialised carnivore, the falanouc feeds almost exclusively on earthworms and other small invertebrates. Its elongated snout and tiny conical teeth are well adapted to foraging in leaf litter for this specialised diet, and its muscular forepaws and long claws enable it to easily dig up their invertebrate prey. After a night feeding, the falanouc spends the daylight hours sleeping under logs or in rock crevices (2). In July and August, courtship and mating takes place, resulting in females giving birth to a litter of one or two offspring after a three month gestation period (2) (5). The young are exceptionally well-developed and are born fully furred, with their eyes open, and weighing around 150 grams. At just two days old, the young are able to follow their mother as she searches for food, and at nine weeks the young are weaned (2). In autumn, up to 800 grams of fat accumulates in the tail of the falanouc, a strategy to ensure its survival through the cooler, drier winter months of June and July, when food is scarce. It has been suggested that the falanouc may hibernate in the winter, although active falanouc have been observed during this time (5).


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Source: ARKive

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