What Is a Civet Cat?

Civet is the common name for various, small, cat-like, almost arboreal mammals in the family Viverridae, characterized by a long, lithe body with relatively short legs, a long, pointed muzzle, and relatively short ears. They are native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The term civet also refers to the strong-smelling secretion (musk) of the perianal glands that is used in perfumes and medicines.

The African palm civet (Nandinia binotata) is a slender-bodied, arboreal mammal that is the only extant member of the family Nandiniidae. Spotted skunks, comprising the genus Spilogale in the even more distant family Mephitidae, are sometimes called “civet cats.”

As a feliform, they have characteristic double-chambered auditory bullae (the bony capsules enclosing the middle and inner ear), composed of two bones joined by a septum. The Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana) was initially placed together with the true civets, but it was moved to the family Eupleridae when phylogenetic analysis of DNA provided strong evidence that all Malagasy carnivores evolved from a single common ancestor that was a herpestid (Yoder et al. 2003; Yoder and Flynn 2003; Gaubert et al. 2005). In 2005, the World Wide Fund for Nature released photos taken by a night time camera trap of an unknown carnivore (nicknamed the cat-fox) on Borneo .

Viverrids are native to Africa (except the area immediately south of the Mediterranean ), Madagascar , the Iberian Peninsula, southern China , and Southeast Asia.

What exactly is a civet cat?

civet, also called civet cat, any of a number of long-bodied, short-legged carnivores of the family Viverridae. … Civets are found in Africa, southern Europe, and Asia. Rather catlike in appearance, they have a thickly furred tail, small ears, and a pointed snout.

What is a civet cat and why are they famous?

Civet cats are perhaps best known for the scrapings of their perineal glands, which produce a musky substance used in high-end fragrances. … The substance has also traditionally been used in “Civet absolute,” an ingredient in the food additives used to add butter, caramel, and rum flavorings to sweets.

Can a civet cat be a pet?

‘ While wallabies or Asian palm civets may make good pets, the researchers say exotic animals aren’t likely to overtake dogs and cats in popularity anytime soon.

Is a civet cat a cat?

Commonly called civet cats, civets are not cats. In fact, they are more closely related to mongooses than they are to cats. In Singapore, the Common Palm Civet is one of the species of civet that can be seen. Civets are commonly known as ‘Musang’ in the Malay Language.

A civet (/svt/) is a small, lean, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. Most of the species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The best-known civet species is the African civet, Civettictis civetta,[1] which historically has been the main species from which a musky scent used in perfumery was obtained. The word civet may also refer to the distinctive musky scent produced by the animals, they are also a select group.

Civets are also called “toddycats” in English, “Luwak” in Indonesian ,”Mara Patti” in Malayalam , “musang” in Malaysian , and urulv () in Sinhalese . There can be confusion among speakers of Malaysian because the indigenous word “musang” has been mistakenly applied to foxes by printed media instead of “rubah”, which is the correct but lesser-known term.

Civets have a broadly cat-like general appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, rather like that of an otter , mongoose or even possibly a ferret . They range in length from about 43 to 71 cm (17 to 28 in) (excluding their long tails) and in weight from about 1.4 to 4.5 kg (3 to 10 lb). Between these ethical concerns and the availability of synthetic substitutes, the practice of raising civets for musk is dying out.

A captured civet in IndiaViverrids are native to sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, the Iberian Peninsula , southern China, South and Southeast Asia. In Sri Lanka , the Asian palm civet species is known as “uguduwa” by the Sinhala-speaking community. The terms uguduwa and kalawedda are used interchangeably by the Sri Lankan community to refer to the same animal.

[5][6] The civets digest the flesh of the coffee cherries but pass the pits (beans) inside, where stomach enzymes affect the beans, which adds to the coffee’s prized aroma and flavor. The Malay civet is found in many habitats, including forests, secondary habitats, cultivated land, and the outskirts of villages, and is highly adaptable to human disturbances, including “selective logging” (partial forest removal). African civets ( Civettictis civetta) are listed as Least Concern, but in certain regions of Africa the population is declining due to hunting, direct and indirect poisoning, and an increase in large-scale farm fences that limit population flow.

Phylogenetic systematics and tempo of evolution of the Viverrinae (Mammalia, Carnivora, Viverridae) within feliformians: Implications for faunal exchanges between Asia and Africa [ permanent dead link ] . ^ Jennings, A. P.; Seymour, A. S.; and Dunstone, N. (2006): “Ranging behaviour, spatial organization and activity of the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga) on Buton Island, Sulawesi”.

civet, also called civet cat, any of a number of long-bodied, short-legged carnivores of the family Viverridae. There are about 15 to 20 species, placed in 10 to 12 genera. Civets are found in Africa, southern Europe, and Asia. Rather catlike in appearance, they have a thickly furred tail, small ears, and a pointed snout. The coloration varies widely among the species but commonly is buff or grayish with a pattern of black spots or stripes or both. Length ranges from about 40 to 85 cm (16 to 34 inches), with the tail accounting for another 13 to 66 cm (5 to 26 inches), and weight ranges from 1.5 to 11 kg (3.3 to 24 pounds).

Commonly called civet cats, civets are not cats. In fact, they are more closely related to mongooses than they are to cats. In Singapore, the Common Palm Civet is one of the species of civet that can be seen. Civets are commonly known as Musang in the Malay Language.

In Singapore, they frequently eat the fruits of the Fishtail Palm and seed pods of the Rain Tree. Coffee beans that have been eaten by civets and passed through their digestive system are highly valued in some neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.

It is some of the most expensive coffee in the world, but can come at a cost to civets which are often poached from the wild and kept in inhumane conditions to produce the beans.

Taxonomy[edit]

The common name is used for a variety of carnivorous mammalian species, mostly of the family Viverridae. The African palm civet (Civets are also called “toddycats” in English, “Luwak” in Indonesian,”Mara Patti” in Malayalam, “musang” in Malaysian, andA minority of writers use “civet” to refer only to

Physical characteristics[edit]

Civets have a broadly cat-like general appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, rather like that of an otter, mongoose or even possibly a ferret. They range in length from about 43 to 71 cm (17 to 28 in) (excluding their long tails) and in weight from about 1.4 to 4.5 kg (3 to 10 lb).The civet produces a musk (named civet after the animal) which is highly valued as a fragrance and stabilizing agent for perfume. Both male and female civets produce the strong-smelling secretion, which is produced by the civet‘s perineal glands. It is harvested by either killing the animal and removing the glands, or by scraping the secretions from the glands of a live animal. The latter is the preferred method today.Animal rights groups, such as World Animal Protection, express concern that harvesting musk is cruel to animals. Between these ethical concerns and the availability of synthetic substitutes, the practice of raising civets for musk is dying out. Chanel, maker of the popular perfume Chanel No. 5, claims that natural civet has been replaced with a synthetic substitute since 1998.

Habitat[edit]

Viverrids are native to sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, the Iberian Peninsula, southern China, South and Southeast Asia. Favoured habitats include woodland, savanna, and mountain biome. In consequence, many are faced with severe loss of habitat; several species are considered vulnerable and the otter civet is classified as endangered. Some species of civet are very rare and elusive and hardly anything is known about them, e.g., the Hose’s civet, endemic to the montane forests of northern Borneo, is one of the world’s least known carnivores.

South Asia[edit]

In Sri Lanka, the Asian palm civet species is known as “uguduwa” by the Sinhala-speaking community. The termsSri Lanka also has an endemic civet species called golden palm civet. Recently this species was split into 3 separate endemic species as

Diet[edit]

Civets are unusual among feliforms, and carnivora in general, in that they are omnivores or even herbivores. Many species primarily eat fruit. Some also use flower nectar as a major source of energy.

Relationship with humans[edit]

The Malay civet is found in many habitats, including forests, secondary habitats, cultivated land, and the outskirts of villages, and is highly adaptable to human disturbances, including “selective logging” (partial forest removal).African civets (Palm civets sold for meat in local markets of China’s Yunnan province carried the SARS virus from horseshoe bats to humans,

Urban environments[edit]

Palm civets often venture into cities and suburbs, with people often complaining about civet faeces and the noise of the animals’ climbing on roofs. Some studies have been undertaken to examine and mitigate such human–animal conflict.