Amazing Masked Palm Civets
Masked Palm Civets are tree-dwelling animals that are widespread across the Indomalay region. They superficially resemble cats but they are only distantly related, belonging instead to a more primitive group of carnivores that have changed little for 50 million years.
The short fur of Masked Palm Civets can be greyish, brownish or orange. They have black ears and feet and bold white stripes on their faces. They have a long, lithe body, small rounded ears and a pointed snout with a pink nose.
Despite their carnivore ancestry, Masked Palm Civets are mostly vegetarians. Fruit makes up the major part of their diet but they also hunt small animals. Their retractable claws make them excellent tree climbers.
Both males and females have four scent glands beneath their tails, which are used to deter predators by squirting a foul-smelling secretion when disturbed. It is thought that their ‘mask’ warns predators about their noxious glands.
Adult Masked Palm Civets live a solitary life. They sleep in temporary nests in trees during the day and are active at night, sometimes roaming up to 2 km. Baby civets are born in litters of up to four, and reach full size at three months old. Females may have two litters a year.