The African civet (/ˈsɪvɪt/; Civettictis civetta) is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry.
The African civet is primarily nocturnal and spends the day sleeping in dense vegetation, but wakes up at sunset. It is a solitary mammal with a unique coloration: the black and white stripes and blotches covering its coarse pelage are an effective cryptic pattern. The black bands surrounding its eyes closely resemble those of the raccoon. Other distinguishing features are its disproportionately large hindquarters and its erectile dorsal crest. It is an omnivorous generalist, preying on small vertebrates, invertebrates, eggs, carrion, and vegetable matter. It is capable of killing venomous invertebrates and snakes. Prey is primarily detected by smell and sound rather than by sight. It is the sole member of its genus.
C. c. civetta (Schreber, 1776)
|Range of the African civet|
Viverra civetta was the scientific name introduced in 1776 by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber when he described African civets based on previous descriptions and accounts. Schreber is therefore considered the binomial authority. In 1915, Reginald Innes Pocock described the structural differences between feet of African and large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha) specimens in the zoological collection of the Natural History Museum, London. Because of marked differences, he proposed Civettictis as a new genus, with C. civetta as only species. The following subspecies were proposed in the 20th century:
A 2006 phylogenetic study showed that the African civet is closely related to the genus Viverra. It was estimated that the Civettictis-Viverra clade diverged from Viverricula around 16.2 Mya; the African civet split from Viverra 12.3 Mya. The authors suggested that the subfamily Viverrinae should be bifurcated into Genettinae (Poiana and Genetta) and Viverrinae (Civettictis, Viverra and Viverricula). The following cladogram is based on this study.
The generic name Civettictis is a fusion of the French word civette and the Greek word ictis, meaning "weasel". The specific name civetta and the common name "civet" come from the French civette or the Arabic zabād or sinnawr al-zabād ("civet cat").
The African civet is the largest viverrid in Africa. Its head-and-body length is 67–84 cm (26–33 in), with a 34–47 cm (13–19 in) long tail and a weight range from 7 to 20 kg (15 to 44 lb). Females are smaller than males. Its shoulder height averages 40 cm (16 in). It is a stocky animal with a long body and appears short-legged for its size although its hind limbs are noticeably larger and more powerful.
The African civet has a short broad neck, a pointed muzzle, small rounded ears, small eyes and a long bushy tail. It has five digits per manus in which the first toe is slightly set back from the others. It has long, curved, semi-retractile claws. Its feet are compact and unsuitable for digging or climbing and the soles of the feet are hairless. It has a modified synapsid skull which is heavy-built and is the longest of any viverrid. The zygomatic arch is robust and provides a large area for attachment of the masseter muscle. The skull also has a well-developed sagittal crest which provides a large area for attachment of the temporalis muscle. This musculature and the African civet's strong mandible give it a powerful bite oriented to its omnivorous diet. It has 40 teeth and a dental formula of 184.108.40.206
Like many mammals, the African civet has two types of fur - under fur and guard hairs. The pelage of the African civet is coarse and wiry. The coat is unique to each individual, just like a human fingerprint. The dorsal base color of the fur varies from white to creamy yellow to reddish. The stripes, spots, and blotches which cover the animal are deep brown to black in coloration. Horizontal lines are prominent on the hind limbs, spots are normally present on the midsection of the animal and fade anteriorly into vertical stripes above the forelimbs. The tail of the African civet is black with a few white bands and the paws are completely black. The head, neck and ears are clearly marked. A black band stretches across its eyes like that of a raccoon and the coloration of its neck is referred to as a double collar because of the two black neck bands.
Following the spine of the animal extending from the neck to the base of the tail is the erectile dorsal crest. The hairs of the erectile crest are longer than those of the rest of the pelage. If an African civet feels threatened, it raises its dorsal crest to make itself look larger and thus more formidable and dangerous to attack. This behavior is a predatory defense.
The perineal gland is what this civet has historically been most often harvested for. This gland secretes a white or yellow waxy substance called civet, which is used by civets for marking territory and by humans as a perfume base. Perineal and anal glands are found in both male and female African civets, however, the glands are bigger in males, which can produce a stronger secretion. The perineal glands are located between the scrotum and the prepuce in males and between the anus and the vulva in females.
In Guinea's National Park of Upper Niger, it was recorded during surveys conducted in 1996 to 1997. In 2014 and 2015, it was recorded in Benin’s Pendjari National Park by camera-traps. In Gabon’s Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, it was photographed close to forested areas during a survey in 2012. In Batéké Plateau National Park, it was recorded in gallery forest along the Mpassa River during surveys conducted between June 2014 and May 2015.
Research in southeastern Nigeria revealed that the African civet has an omnivorous diet. It feeds on rodents like giant pouched rats (Cricetomys), Temminck's mouse (Mus musculoides), Tullberg's soft-furred mouse (Praomys tulbergi), greater cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus), typical striped grass mouse (Lemniscomys striatus), amphibians and small reptiles like Hallowell's toad (Amietophrynus maculatus), herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia), black-necked spitting cobra (Naja nigricollis), common agama (Agama agama), Mabuya skinks, insects such as Orthoptera, Coleoptera as well as eggs, fruits, berries and seeds. Stomach content of three African civets in Botswana included foremost husks of fan palm (Hyphaene petersiana) and jackalberry (Diospyros mespiliformis), and some remains of African red toad (Schismaderma carens), Acrididae grasshoppers and larvae of Dytiscidae beetles.
Captive females are polyestrous. Mating lasts 40 to 70 seconds. In Southern Africa, African civets probably mate from October to November, and females give birth in the rainy season between January and February.
The average lifespan of a captive African civets is 15 to 20 years. Females create a nest which is normally in dense vegetation and commonly in a hole dug by another animal. Female African civets normally give birth to one to four young. The young are born in advanced stages compared to most carnivores. They are covered in a dark, short fur and can crawl at birth. The young leave the nest after 18 days but are still dependent on the mother for milk and protection for another two months.
In 2006, it was estimated that about 9,400 African civets are hunted yearly in the Nigerian part and more than 5,800 in the Cameroon part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests. Skins and skulls of African civets were found in 2007 at the Dantokpa Market in southern Benin, where it was among the most expensive small carnivores. Local hunters considered it a rare species, indicating that the population declined due to hunting for trade as bushmeat.
The perineal gland secretion, civet, has been the basic ingredient for many perfumes for hundreds of years and is still being used today although this has changed since the creation of synthetic musk. African civets have been kept in captivity and milked for their civet which is diluted into perfumes. They can secrete three to four grams of civet per week and it can be sold for just under five hundred dollars per kilogram.
The aardwolf (Proteles cristata) is a small, insectivorous mammal, native to East and Southern Africa. Its name means "earth-wolf" in Afrikaans and Dutch. It is also called "maanhaar-jackal" (Afrikaans for "mane-jackal"),"ant hyena" or civet hyena, based on its habit of secreting substances from its anal gland, a characteristic shared with the African civet. The aardwolf is in the same family as the hyena. Unlike many of its relatives in the order Carnivora, the aardwolf does not hunt large animals. It eats insects and their larvae, mainly termites; one aardwolf can lap up as many as 250,000 termites during a single night using its long, sticky tongue.The aardwolf lives in the shrublands of eastern and southern Africa – open lands covered with stunted trees and shrubs. It is nocturnal, resting in burrows during the day and emerging at night to seek food.Asiatic linsang
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.Bijilo Forest Park
Bijilo Forest Park is a forest park in the Gambia, lying in the coastal zone about 11 km west of Banjul the Kombo Saint Mary District.Civet
A civet is a small, lithe-bodied, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. Most of the species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The best-known civet species is the African civet, Civettictis civetta, which historically has been the main species from which was obtained a musky scent used in perfumery. The word civet may also refer to the distinctive musky scent produced by the animals.
A minority of writers use "civet" to refer only to Civettictis, Viverra and Viverricula civets. But in more common usage in English, the name also covers Chrotogale, Cynogale, Diplogale, Hemigalus, Arctogalidia, Macrogalidia, Paguma, and Paradoxurus civets.Civet (perfumery)
Civet (Zibeth; Zibet; Zibetum), also known as civet musk, is the glandular secretion produced by both sexes of Viverridae species.Civetone
Civetone is a macrocyclic ketone and the main odorous constituent of civet oil. It is a pheromone sourced from the African civet. It has a strong musky odor that becomes pleasant at extreme dilutions. Civetone is closely related to muscone, the principal odoriferous compound found in musk; the structure of both compounds was elucidated by Leopold Ružička. Today, civetone can be synthesized from precursor chemicals found in palm oil.Deer musk
Deer musk is a substance with a persistent odor, obtained from the caudal glands of the male musk deer.
Although more commonly referred to as "musk", the term itself is often used to describe a wide variety of "musky" substances from other animals such as the African civet ("civet musk") or various synthetic musks whose compound exhibits some character of deer musk.
The demand for deer musk has led to a severe decrease in musk deer populations.
Six of the seven musk producing species are listed as Endangered.List of fauna of Sudan and South Sudan
Fauna of Sudan and South Sudan include:
African bush elephant
African golden wolf
Giant forest hog
North African ostrich
Northern white rhinoceros
Nubian wild ass
Red river hog
Somali wild ass
Somali wild dog
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.Mafdet
In early Egyptian mythology, Mafdet (also spelled Maftet) was a goddess who protected against snakes and scorpions and was often represented as either some sort of felid or mongoose. She is present in the Egyptian pantheon as early as the First Dynasty. Mafdet was the deification of legal justice, or possibly of capital punishment. She was also associated with the protection of the king's chambers and other sacred places, and with protection against venomous animals, which were seen as transgressors against Maat.
Since venomous animals such as scorpions and snakes are killed by felines, Mafdet was seen as a feline goddess, although it is uncertain whether alternately, she also was meant to be a cat, African civet, or a mongoose. In reflection of the manner in which these animals kill snakes and she was given titles such as "slayer of serpents".
Mafdet was prominent during the reign of the First Dynasty pharaoh Den, whose image appears on stone vessel fragments from his tomb and is mentioned in a dedicatory entry in the Palermo Stone. She is also mentioned in the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom as protecting the sun god Ra from poisonous snakes.Musk
Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. Musk was a name originally given to a substance with a strong odor obtained from a gland of the musk deer. The substance has been used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times and is one of the most expensive animal products in the world. The name originates from the Late Greek μόσχος 'moskhos', from Persian 'mushk', ultimately from Sanskrit मुष्क muṣka meaning "a testicle", from a diminutive of मूष् mūṣ ("mouse"). The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. It is applied to various plants and animals of similar smell (e.g. muskox) and has come to encompass a wide variety of aromatic substances with similar odors, despite their often differing chemical structures and molecular shapes.
Natural musk was used extensively in perfumery until the late 19th century when economic and ethical motives led to the adoption of synthetic musk, which is now used almost exclusively. The organic compound primarily responsible for the characteristic odor of musk is muscone.
Modern use of natural musk pods occurs in traditional Chinese medicine.Nyctereutes
Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.
Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.Paradoxurus
Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:
the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)
the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)
the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.Pusa
Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.
The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.
Only the Caspian seal is endangered.Speothos
Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.Viverridae
Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids (), comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Members of this family are commonly called civets or genets. Viverrids are found in South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line, all over Africa, and into southern Europe. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.Viverrinae
The Viverrinae represent the largest subfamily within the Viverridae comprising five genera, which are subdivided into 22 species native to Africa and Southeast Asia. This subfamily was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.Wildlife of Ivory Coast
The wildlife of the Ivory Coast is composed of its flora and fauna.
Extant Carnivora species