African linsang

This article is about the species of linsang. For the genus of linsangs, see African linsang (genus).
African linsang
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Viverridae
Genus: Poiana
Species: P. richardsonii
Binomial name
Poiana richardsonii[2]
Thomson, 1842
African linsang range

The African linsang (Poiana richardsonii), also called Central African oyan, is a linsang species native to Central Africa.[1]


The African linsang is a largely arboreal creature that inhabits dense forests and jungles. It is endemic to Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo.[2] They have also been known to live at heights of 950m in Zaire and at 300-500m in North-east Gabon.[3]


Like all linsangs, African linsangs vary in colour, and resemble an elongated cat. They grow to a length of 33–43 cm (13–17 inches) for both sexes, excluding a banded tail that is almost as long as the body. They have slender bodies, relatively narrow heads, elongated muzzles, retractile claws, and dense, close fur.[4] They weigh only 500-700 grams (1–1.5 lbs).

African linsangs are white or cream in color on their ventral side, while the dorsal sides have dark circular marks. Sometimes an individual can have a black thin stripe that runs from the nose to the root of the tail. Its tail holds 10 to 14 rings which differ in measurement. The soles of the linsang's feet are covered with hair.[3]


The African linsang is an omnivore, eating insects and young birds as well as fruits, nuts, and other vegetation. It is thought that they could also take small vertebrates, but these are eaten only if the opportunity arises, as they do not hunt for them.[3] Although its breeding habits are largely unknown, it is thought that it gives birth to two or three young annually or semiannually.[5] When born, the young are altricial.

The African linsang is nocturnal, and generally lives alone or in a pair. They construct arboreal nests 2 meters above the ground with green materials. They only stay in a nest for a short amount of time before moving on to make a new nest. Very rarely, several linsangs will stay in the same nesting place. On average, linsangs in the wild live for about 5.3 years.


There are two other species of linsang, the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang), and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor).[4] These species belong to the Prionodontidae family and are therefore more closely related to the Felidae than the Viverridae .[6]


The African linsang is considered a species of Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk and does not qualify for a more at risk category. Taxa are included in the category because their widespread and abundance on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Its only known predator is man. Larger carnivores, owls and snakes are thought to be some of its non-human predators but none have been observed.[3]


  1. 1 2 Gaubert, P. & Do Linh San, E. (2015). "Poiana richardsonii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  2. 1 2 Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "African linsang - African linsang pictures and facts". TheWebsiteOfEverything. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  4. 1 2 "linsang". Encyclopædia Britannica - Online Academic Edition. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  5. Whitfield, Philip, ed. (1984). Macmillan Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia. Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 92. ISBN 0-02-627680-1.
  6. Gaubert, P., & Veron, G. (2003). "Exhaustive sample set among Viverridae reveals the sister-group of felids: the linsangs as a case of extreme morphological convergence within Feliformia". Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, 270 270 (1532): 2523–30. doi:10.1098/rspb.2003.2521
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