Civet Cat: More Than Meets The Eye

Despite the name, the Civet Cat is not remotely feline. It is actually more like a weasel than a wild cat.

There are two main subspecies of Civet; African and Asian Palm. African Civet’s range includes both west and east coasts and all of sub Saharan. Asian Palm Civet is found in. India and westward into South East Asia. Both are solitary by nature, nocturnal and carnivorous (frogs, lizards and snakes) preferring tropical foliage and trees whenever necessary (although they do come into contact with people due to the encroachment of humans into their habitat). Some people think that these creatures make good pets. They don’t.

One of the oldest sources of perfume is musk from Civets. Sourced from the perineal gland on both males and females, sadly this meant that the poor Civet paid with their lives (or glands) for our need for perfume. Thankfully synthetics exist now to recreate the Civet scent without a cost to the animals. So everyone wins.

If you are a coffee connoisseur, then you will be familiar or even a devotee of Kopi Luwak. Considered one of the rarest and most finest coffees in existence, sourced in Indonesia. What makes it so special? The coffee beans are consumed by our Civet and passes out of the Civet whole. That’s right, the beans are ‘recovered’ and then processed into KL. Recently there has been controversy involving farming methods. Some Civets are kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions; as a solitary creature, being kept in such close proximity is distressing for them. In addition to their miserable living standards, they are forced feed the coffee beans. For many years I was tempted to try Kopi Luwak; if I was not put off by the price, the cruel conditions has made my lose my desire.

Yet another casualty of habitat destruction. Hopefully we can be kinder the Civet and not uses them up because of our own greed and need for luxury that comes at a high price.

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One comment

  1. Something new for me — I had never heard of these guys.

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