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Scientific Classification
Palm Civet

The civet is any of the species that belong to the taxonomic family Viverridae, also known as the palm civet, and the civet cat. They are nocturnal and spend most of their time in the trees (arboreal). They have long tails, sharp claws and teeth.

The civet has a distinct reputation from its unique product. The musk that the civet secretes can be manufactured in some types of perfumes. The civet is even a delicacy to human beings. Civet meat is quite tasty to some, but other people prefer the coffee made from the coffee beans that have been excreted from the civet.

The civet is not only a tasty treat, but some keep this little creature as a pet. The civet is a strange little creature and there is not a lot known about them. You can see them in their natural habitat, the zoo, or stuffed in a museum.


Civet skull

A civet is a small to medium sized, nocturnal cat-like creature. It has a thick, furry tail, small ears, short legs, slender body, a long head, and a kind of pointed snout. Civets also have short limbs and non-retractable claws. A civet has a brown or grayish fur coat, with black spots, black stripes, or, on occasions, a civet could have both stripes and spots. They civet can be up to thirty-four inches in length, and that does not even include the five to twenty-six inch tail. The weight of this cat-like creature ranges from three point three pounds, to twenty-four pounds. A civet has a type of perianal gland, which contains a perfume-like substance, or musk, in a pouch located near the civet's genitals. They use a fatty yellow substance for marking a civets territory.[1] While the Viverridae family is related to the Felidae family, the civet is not an actual cat. The civet is actually more related to the mongoose family. The civet also resembles a raccoon or a weasel by its masked face.[2]


Civets usually breed often throughout the year. Many litters, up to one to four babies, will be born over this period of time. The gestation period will usually last for a period of about sixty days, the longest being eighty-one days. The young, like any other mammal, will be born covered with fur and blind. In a matter of days, the young will open their eyes, and at fourteen to twenty weeks old, the young civets will have finished suckling. When they civets reach one year old, they are ready to breed, beginning the life cycle all over again.[3]


Common palm civet

Habitat: Civets are native to Africa, Madagascar, the Iberian Peninsula, southern Chia, east Indies, southern Asia, and Southeast Asia. Their habitats include the woodlands, the savanna, mountain biomes, and the tropical rainforest.[4] Many are being raised for new coffee orchards, and natural populations are declining because many people seem to fancy the taste of their meat.[5]

Food: Civets are fruit-eating animals, which has caused the civet to be hunted in one area of southeast Asia. There was even a civet fruit that was used to lure civets into traps. Fruit is not the only food on the civets diet plan. The civet has a particular taste for coffee beans. The civet will use its long, fox-like nose to locate the tastiest coffee beans. [6] The civet will also dine on hares, rodents, carrion, birds, eggs, reptiles, frogs, crabs, insects, wild fruits, and vegetables. When the civet goes on the hunt, it captures its prey with its teeth and claws. The claws hold the civet's prey in place, as the kills, and tears the civet's meal to pieces. [7][8]

Predators: The civet has many natural predators. Some examples of the Malagasy civet is hunted by dogs and humans in Madagascar. The younger ones can be eaten by birds, snakes, and other predators.[9]

Distribution: The civet can be found from Senegal to Somalia and south to Namibia and eastern South Africa. [10]

Social System/Communication: The civets have many forms of communication between themselves. One example would be their sense of smell. Civets have scent glands that leave a particular scent on a pathway to leave information. This type of communication can be used for whether a female civet is in estrus. Other forms of communication are growling, a kind of cough spit, and screaming. The civet has also been known to make a kind of "ha-ha-ha" sound.[11]

Kopi Luwak

Civet coffee

Kopi Luwak is a delicious, and very expensive coffee that is made with red coffee cherries. The only thing that makes this coffee different from other coffee, is the fact that the cherries are processed through the palm civet's digestive system. The palm civet eats the coffee cherries whole and the fruit is removed as the cherries are processed in the stomach. The beans exit the civet's body inside of the animal's feces. The beans are then taken to be cleaned, and then roasted to an oily bean. When the coffee is made, it has a distinct aroma, and a dark chocolate flavor. A person can find this coffee in only a few parts of the world. In Indonesia, Kopi Lukwak is sold for six hundred dollars a pound. In the Philippines it is called civet coffee or kape alamid (alamid is another name for civet). Even Japan sells this exotic coffee. In Vietnam, the Vietnamese call the civet a fox and their civet coffee is called caphe cut chon or fox-dung coffee.[12] This drink may sound disgusting, but some say it is the most delicious cup of coffee you will ever have.[13]