Civet, African

Civettictis civetta

African civet (Civettictis civetta)
A black and white nocturnal mammal that belongs to the same family as a mongoose. It is an omnivore which is the same shape and size as a racoon, it specialises in eating millipedes despite the cyanide which they contain. Their habitat preference is for forest and dense woodland where the vegetation is thicker.

Conservation status : Least concern
Length (including tail) : 1.3 m
Weight : 11.3 kg
Life span : 12 years
Gestation : 2 months
Young : 2 to 4

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Civet faeces are much bigger than you would expect for an animal of its size.

As omnivores civets will eat a wide range of food including millipedes which most other animals would avoid due to the cyanide that they contain.

Civets will scent mark frequently by reversing backwards up a tree or rock where it will wipe its anal gland against the surface. It is thought that they do this to make themselves appear bigger to other civets.

Civets will regularly scavenge and have been known to eat the stomach contents of dead herbivores for the grass.

The pungent secretion from a civet’s anal gland is known as civetone. Because this can hold its smell for three to four months it is used as a fixtitive in perfume.

In a confrontation the civet will make itself look 1/3 bigger from the side by raising a crest of long hair along its back.

A civet kitten will have its own dedicated teat when suckling from its mother.