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The palm civet, elf name, is a curious animal to get to know. It is not known to most but it has characteristics that can lead it to amplify its fame. The name doesn't help but let's trust it and let's find out what its main characteristics are.
Also called palm owl or Musang, this animal in the scientific world has an even different name: Paradoxurus hermaphroditus. It is a carnivorous being, belonging to the Viverrida family and widespread in Southeast Asia. It is not too big, not frightening, it can in fact be defined as a medium-sized animal, it is long as an adult, between 420 and 580 mm, a measure to which we must add that of the tail which is quite considerable in proportion: between 330 and 470 mm. It is not small but it is a rather light animal, its average weight is 3 kg, males usually weigh a little more than females.
Both males and females of Palm civet they are solitary souls and live mostly at night, they don't like contact with other specimens, let alone with human beings. They spend the whole day in the hollow trees in the fresh air and have a very territorial nature, they have their own areas over which they believe they can dominate and do not compromise if some other specimen invades them.
Within the civet groups there is a social organization that is based on the distribution of food and the presence of the largest predators, it varies from area to area as well as the habits and mating periods.
Civet and genet
It can happen that you feel it Palm civet side by side with the genet, let's not get confused though, it is not the same animal even if there are some points in common between the two. They are both belonging to the viverrid family, for example, which is one of the oldest in the entire animal kingdom.
This means that both the Civet and the Genetta they have odorous glands under the tail like all the others belonging to this family. We will discover later that in the case of the civet, the glands produce a secretion used in perfumery to obtain the aroma of the same name.
Unlike the Palm civet, the genet easily climbs trees and has an agile and lithe body, the tail is long, longer than that of the Civet, and also covered with fascinating streaks. If we are to imagine the genet a bit like a big cat but weighing less than the civet since it almost never exceeds 2 kg, the females can also weigh much less.
I made the comparison with the cat not by chance because the genet also purrs and has retractable nails, but this should not deceive us: it is not a feline! The hair has some fascinating characteristics, it usually is brown but with various shades, spotted on the back and belly, striped on the tail. There are also black and albino genets but they are both rare varieties, the most numerous specimens are the spotted and brick ones that all live in Africa and in some parts of Southern Europe.
Palm civet: animal
So far we have talked more deeply about the almost Genetta, and it is instead of the Palm civet that we want to cover in this article. This mammal has a grayish body, a blackish snout, ears, limbs and distal tail and shows a facial mask, composed of a series of small white spots that are concentrated around the eyes.
Then there are other spots made of points, one large above the eyes, another on the sides of each nostril, then a thin dark stripe joins the two eyes and crosses the entire muzzle. It is not easy to describe this animal which has other spots on its back but black, longitudinal, three in particular which are quite prevalent and which join the shoulders with the base of the tail. Also hips are "stained" always in black, with elongated shapes. It is precisely the face mask, the spots on the body and the dimensions that allow us to differentiate the subspecies
As belonging to the family which also includes genets, civets have perianal glands which emit a secretion which is expelled in case of threat. Among the various peculiarities of these animals there is also the fact that the females have three pairs of udders.
Now let's see how they live and what they eat. The Palm civet it feeds mainly on berries, fleshy fruit such as mango, pineapple, melon, bananas and fruits of native species of Ficus that we do not know directly. We cannot speak of an animal with a vegetarian diet, however, because if it happens it also eats small birds, rodents and insects.
It also depends a lot where it lives, for example the specimens found in Borneo we know that it eats many insects and molluscs that make up about half of their diet. To feed we can also see them climbing some species of palm trees, used to produce a particular alcoholic drink called Palm wine, and suck the sap.
From the point of view of reproduction these animals have a gestation period of about 2 months, the females give birth from 2 to 5 cubs at a time, and they give birth in the hollow trees or in the crevices between the rocks. Both sexes reach sexual maturity at 11-12 months, while life expectancy in the wild for both sexes is 14 years. If they are kept in captivity, they can survive for up to two decades.
Asian palm civet
Where does this little striped animal live? Especially in the Indian subcontinent, in Indochina, China, Indonesia and the Philippines. Recently it has also been introduced by us men on the island of Sulawesi, the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. In general, among the habitats it prefers there are primary and secondary deciduous and evergreen forests, plantations and even civilized areas up to 2400 meters above sea level.
Harmless and lonely, it Palm civet in some areas it is hunted both to be eaten and to be used as a pet, other times it is removed because it can create problems for farmers who have to count the damage related to the lavish dinners that the civet does at their expense.
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