Civets and Genets
The Mongoose Family. Thirty-five species in 20 genera
Habitat: woodlands to rain forests, savanna, brush and mountains; cheifly arboreal, but also on ground by riverbanks.
Gestation: Genets to 70 days, 80 in African civet, 90 in Palm civets.
The males may fight to the death when the dominate civet is challenged for mating rights. Up to 3 females may live withing the territory of a dominant male. For most of the year the females live alone in their tree.
The African palm civet spends most of its time in the forestr canopy eating fruit and vines and ocassionally a small animal or bird. This civet is very vocal.
The seven Asian and one African palm civet have claws that are semiretractile and a scent gland in the anal area . Adult males mark trees and vines within their 250 acre territory.
June is the month for mating with a pair sharing a tree over several days of the month. One to three yound are born among the vines of the tree. Sexual maturity is after two years.
The African civet is the largest of the true civets and linsangs. This civet is not a tree climber and looks for food on the ground during the night consisting of ground birds, insects, fruit, mammals, and retiles. It lives in tropical rainforests, dry savannas and rests in thicket or burrows.
The African civets almost always defecate in dung heaps (middens or "civetries") near their trails. They are located at territorial boundries serving as contact zones between neighbors.
African civet females are sexually active at one year old and may have two litters a year. A litter of one to three young is common.
The Celebes or Giant civet can only be found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (Celebes).
Civet has played a role in the perfume industry dating back to the 10th century B.C.. Civet oil also has medicinal properties for some skin disorders. Luckily synthetic chemical substitutes have replaced these properties, though some East African and Asian countries still sell large quantities each year.
The linsangs are among the rarest and most beautiful members of the group. All three species are shy, living in the forests and are marked with dark spots and ringed tails.
The Fishing or Aquatic genet or Congo water civet is rare, inhabits small rivers and streams of the Central Africa forest. It feeds on fish and crustaceans and it has been seen eating cassava melons left to soak in streams before human consumption.
The genet's tail makes up half of its body length. Living in trees and hunting on the ground for food, the genet is fast sly. Their coloration helps them avoid detection by the prey. All species aree carnivorous but one, the Johnston's genet which is largely insectivorous. One specie has been observed taking bats as the leave their roost.. Another, the West African Forest genet, is known to feed on the nectar of the Maranthes polyandra tree; the flowers are bat pollinated.
Genets breed throughout the year with seasonal peaks in some areas.
In Europe genets were kept as pets and used as rat catchers until the domesticated cat came along in the Middle Ages.
Most of their lives genets live in seclusion.
This Common genet can be found in France, Africa, Iberian Peninsula, and Palestine.
Females seem to be more territorial than the males. Populations are much lower in Spain. Two Common genets were tracked with radio devices moving quickly over their home ranges of 2 square miles within an hour.
The Civet's Future
With the torture of the African civet for the oils they produce they are not doing well.
In you use perfume, write to the manufacturer to determine their policy on animal derived or tested ingredients. If you are not satisfied with their policy, tell them you will no longer buy their brand. You can use guaranteed cruelty-free perfumes by contacting the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments and asking for a list or visiting their Web site.
ECAE, c/o BUAV, 16a Crane Grove, London N7 8LB
Web site: www.tierrechte.de/european-coalition/
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