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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Carnivora (dogs, cats, mongooses, hyaenas, otters, badgers, weasels, polecats, walrus, seals, raccoons, bears, genets, civets)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Synapsida (mammal-like reptiles) > Therapsida > Theriodontia >  Cynodontia > Mammalia (mammals) > Placentalia (placental mammals) > Laurasiatheria > Ferungulata > Ferae

Families indigenous or naturalised in southern Africa

Family: Canidae (dogs, jackals) 

Africa, Eurasia, North and Central America.

Family: Felidae (cats, lion, tiger, leopard, etc.) 

Americas, Eurasia, Africa.

Family: Herpestidae (mongooses) 

Africa, S. Asia.

Family: Hyaenidae (hyaenas) 

Africa, SW Asia.

Family: Mustelidae (otters, badgers, weasils and polecats) 

Americas, Eurasia, Africa.

Family: Nandiniidae (African palm civet)

One species: Nandinia binotata (African palm civet).

Family: Otariidae (eared seals, sealions) 

Southern Hemisphere, North Pacific.

Family: Phocidae (earless seals) 

Polar, temperate, some tropical seas.

Family: Ursidae (bears, including Lesser Panda Ailurus fulgens

Eurasia, North and South America. However, 5 million years ago there was a bear called Agriotherium africanum living in Africa and fossils of its bones have been found at Langebaanweg in what is now the West Coast Fossil Park.


Family: Viverridae (genets and civets) 

S. Asia, Africa, Madagascar.

Families not indigenous to southern Africa:  Odobenidae (Walrus Odobenus rosmarus - Arctic Ocean), Procyonidae (raccoons - South, Central and North America).

Domesticated carnivores

Domestic cats originate from the Wild Cat Felis sylvestris, most likely from the African subspecies Felis sylvestris lybica.