Saturday, November 24, 2012

African Civet


African Civet | The African civet is a large species of civet found across sub-Saharan Africa. The African civet is the only remaining member in it's genetic group and is considered to be the largest civet-like animal on the African continent. The black and white marking of the African civet make this species one of the easiest civet species to identify. The African civet is found in a variety of habitats on the African continent, with its range extending from coast to coast in sub-Saharan Africa. African civets are most commonly found in tropical forests and jungles and areas where there is plenty of dense vegetation to provide both cover and animals that the African civets feeds on.

Despite their cat-like appearance and behaviours, the African civets are not felines at all but are in fact more closely related to other small carnivores including weasels and mongooses. One of the African palm civets most distinctive features are their black and white markings on their fur, with the black band around their eyes make these animals look like raccoons. The African palm civet is a solitary animal that only comes out under the cover of night to hunt and catch food. These nocturnal animals are primarily tree-dwelling creatures that spend most of the daylight hours resting in the safety of the trees. Despite being generally very solitary creatures, the African palm civet has been known to gather in groups of up to 15 members particularly during the mating season.

The African civet is a carnivorous animal that does in fact supplement it's diet with vegetable matter when needed. Small animals such as rodents, lizards, snakes and frogs make up the majority of the African civet's diet, along with insects, berries and fallen fruits that it finds on the forest floor. Despite being a secretive yet a relatively ferocious predator, the African civet is actually preyed upon by a number of predators within their natural environment. Large predatory cats are the most common predators of the African civet including lions and leopards along with reptiles such as large snakes and crocodiles.

The female African civet usually gives birth to up to 4 young after a
gestation period that lasts for a couple of months. The babies are weaned by their mother until they are strong enough to fend for themselves. African civets can live for up to 20 years, although most rarely get to be this old. Today, the African civet is under threat from deforestation and therefore drastic loss of much of its natural habitat. The main reason for such extensive deforestation in the area is either for logging or to clear the land to make way for palm oil plantations.

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