African Palm Civet Facts

The back of the African palm civet has a pattern of black patches ranging from gray to dark brown. It has slender legs, tiny ears, a slender torso, and a long tail with a ring around it.

They are found in the southern half of West Africa, most of Central and East Africa, and Unguja Island off the coast of Tanzania. There are four sub-species of African palm civets, including the Ethiopian palm civet.

They are nocturnal, arboreal mammals that live in trees. They are solitary and have home ranges of 34-153 ha.

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African Palm Civet for Kids

  • African palm civets are omnivores
  • They live for up to 15 years
  • They are also known as the two-spotted palm civet
  • African palm civet has a long ringed tail
  • African palm civet have short legs

Classification and Evolution

The African Palm Civet is a species of Civet found in the tropical jungles of eastern and central Africa. It is the most common forest-dwelling small carnivore in all of Africa.

Anatomy and Appearance

The African Palm Civet has brown to light-tan to yellow colored thick fur mottled with a series of darker brown spots. It has a sharply pointed muzzle and strong and muscular yet relatively short limbs.

Distribution and Habitat

They are solitary animal that leads a crepuscular lifestyle. They are primarily tree-dwelling creatures that gather in groups of up to 15 members when food is in abundance.

They are found in rainforests, deciduous forests, lowland rainforests, mountainous areas that are under 2,000 m (6,500 ft), riparian forests, savanna woodlands, and logged and second-growth forests. They are also found in gutters, thick undergrowth in farm and village margins, and rubbish dumps.

Behavior and Lifestyle

As Nocturnal animals, they are active shortly after nightfall and then active again 3 to 4 hours before sunrise. They are very territorial and use scent markings to establish their territories.

Reproduction and Life Cycles

Breeding season is twice a year in May and October and they can live for up to 15 years.

They are polygynous and give birth in the long wet season and at the onset of the dry season. They are suckled for 3 months before becoming reproductively mature.

Communication and Perception

African palm civets communicate through scent markings and sounds. They have a unique hooting call, and they can make loud mewing and clucking sounds, as well as a loud scream and bark.

Diet and Prey

The African Palm Civet is an omnivorous animal that feeds on pineapples, other fruits, small animals, birds, frogs, and insects.

 They eat various things, including

  • Fruit
  • Rodents
  • Insects
  • Lizards
  • Bats
  • Birds
  • Eggs

They will also raid farms for small livestock, including chickens, lambs, goat kids, and turkeys.

Predators and Threats

The African Palm Civet is preyed upon by several predators in its natural environment, including Lions, Leopards, and Crocodiles. They are threatened by habitat loss due to commercial logging and mining activities and by hunting for bushmeat.

They are only known to fight humans. They are very good at blending into the trees and have been known to win fights against domestic dogs.

Relationship with Humans

Farmers view the African Palm Civet as pests, and they are often found raiding poultry coops to get an easy meal. Humans are the biggest threat to the African Palm Civet today.

They are hunted for their meat and fur, and their body parts are used in medicine. They are also helpful pest managers.

Local communities fear them because they sometimes catch livestock. They also bite when startled or disturbed sleep and carry human diseases.

Conservation Status and Life Today

The African Palm Civet is under threat from deforestation and is found in abundance in certain areas.

They are listed by the IUCN as Least Concern and are found in many protected areas.