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African civet

The African civet is a species of carnivorous mammal from the Civet family. It is also the only species of the genus African Civet. It has been on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by poachers because of its production of used siviton. in perfumes.

The African civet is primarily a nocturnal animal that spends the day sleeping in dense vegetation, but wakes up at sunset. They are solitary mammals with a unique colouration, and the saturation of black bands surrounding their eyes is very similar to that of a raccoon. It feeds on small vertebrates and invertebrates, eggs, carrion, and vegetables. It is one of the few carnivores capable of eating poisonous invertebrates such as termites and millipedes. It detects its prey by smell and sound rather than by sight.


Etymology

The scientific name for the African civet (Civettictis) is an amalgamation of the French word civette and the Greek word ictis.


Properties

The African civet has coarse fur that varies in color from white to creamy yellow to reddish on the back. The streaks and spots are dark brown to black, with horizontal stripes on the hind limbs, the spots usually in the middle and becoming vertical stripes over the forelimbs. Its head is pointed, its ears are small and round, a black stripe runs across its small eyes, and two black stripes round its short, broad neck.

Its musculature and strong lower jaw give it a powerful bite, and it has five toes on each leg with the first toe slightly retracted from the others. Its long, curved, semi-retractable claws have a head and body length of 67–84 cm (26–33 in), a tail of 67–84 cm (26–33 in) and a weight ranging from 7 to 20 kg (15 to 44 lb). His shoulder height is 40 cm (16 in). The females are smaller than the males.


Distribution and habitat

The African civet was recorded in surveys conducted from 1996 to 1997 in Guinea. It was photographed in Gabon near forested areas during a survey conducted in 2012. It was recorded in forests along the Embassa River during surveys conducted between June 2014 and May 2015.

It was recorded in the Republic of the Congo in the western Congolese forest mosaic in the Odzala-Kokwa National Park during a survey conducted in 2007.

It was seen between the Dindir corral and the Attash National Park across the Sudanese-Ethiopian border during surveys conducted between 2015 and 2018. It is also observed frequently in northern Ethiopia.


behavior and the environment

The African civet puts its excrement in large piles called latrines. The toilets feature fruits, seeds, exoskeletons of ringworms, millipedes, and sometimes clumps of grass. The role of civet toilets as a mechanism for seed dispersal and forest regeneration is still under investigation.

If the African civet feels threatened, it raises the top of its back to make itself appear larger and therefore more dangerous. This behavior is called predator defense.


feed

Research in southeastern Nigeria revealed that the African civet feeds on rodents such as grass mice and amphibians. And small reptiles: such as, herald snake, black-necked cobra, as well as eggs, fruits, berries and seeds. Green grass is also frequently found, and this appears to be related to eating snakes and amphibians.


mating

African civet most likely mates from October to November, and females give birth during the rainy season between January and February. Females establish a nest, usually from thick vegetation or a hole dug by another animal, and female African civet usually give birth to one to four young, the young are born in advanced stages compared to most carnivores, and they are covered with short dark fur and can crawl at birth, the young leave the nest after 18 days old but still dependent on the mother for milk and protection for another 2 months.


threats

In 2006, it was estimated that about 9,400 African civet animals were hunted annually in the Nigerian part and more than 5,800 in the Cameroonian part. In 2007, skins and skulls of African civet were found in the Dantokba market in southern Benin, where it was among the most expensive carnivores. Small, and considered by local fishermen to be a rare species, which indicates a decline in civet numbers due to commercial hunting.

Historically, African civet were hunted for the secretions of their perineal glands. This secretion is a white or yellow waxy substance called civeton, which has been used as an essential ingredient in many perfumes for hundreds of years. In Ethiopia, African civet are caught alive and kept in small cages, most of which die within three weeks after capture, most likely due to stress. Cefton extraction is considered cruel and has been criticized by animal rights activists.

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