The structure of feet is widely used as a diagnostic feature in mammalian taxonomy. The relationship between the lengths of the metacarpals and foot pads are described with regard to plantigrade and digitigrade feet in the Viverridae. Although species in the Herpestinae, Paradoxurinae and Galidiinae vary considerably in size (from 450 g to 10 kg), the increase in length of the metapodial is isometric. Feet in which the metacarpals are less than 15 % of total limb length are plantigrade (Paradoxurinae and Cryptoproctinae) while those larger than 15% are digitigrade (Herpestinae and Galidiinae). The Viverrinae are composed of two natural groups, one in which the species have plantigrade forefeet and digitigrade hind feet and one in which both fore- and hind feet are digitigrade. The Hemigalinae does not appear to be a natural grouping, because the banded palm civet has plantigrade fore- and hind feet while other members of the subfamily have digitigrade feet; it may be better to reclassify the subfamily into three (Hemigalinae, Fossinae and Euplerinae).