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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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