The African palm civet is a small forest mammal in the Nandiniidae family. The African palm civet has four subspecies that can be found in eastern and central Africa. Tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, savanna woodlands, and mountainous forests are all home to the African palm civet. Despite the fact that it is frequently hunted for meat and fur, the greatest threat to its survival is accelerated habitat loss. Despite these factors, the African palm civet population remains large and stable.
The African palm civet can grow to be 17 to 28 inches long and weigh 3 to 10 pounds.
The fur of the African palm civet is thick and brown to yellowish-brown, with dark brown spots.
The African palm civet has a pointed muzzle, small, round ears, a long, sturdy tail, and an elongated body.
The African palm civet is omnivorous. Fruit (pineapples, figs, sugar plums…), lizards, small birds, frogs, rodents, insects, and carrion make up its diet.
The African palm civet grips its prey with its front feet and kills it with several bites. It swallows small prey whole.
Because it attacks chickens, turkeys, young goats, and lambs, the African palm civet is classified as a pest in agricultural areas.
The African palm civet is active at night. During the day, it rests in tree holes or between branches and vines.
The African palm civet lives alone. When food is plentiful, it can be seen in groups of up to 15 animals.
Lions, leopards, snakes, and crocodiles are natural predators of the African palm civet.
Males and females both use glands on their feet and belly to mark their territory and find mating partners.
Apart from scent, African palm civets communicate with one another through hooting calls, meowing, and clicking sounds. They can also purr, growl, and bark.
The mating season of the African palm civet occurs twice a year, in May and October (during the rainy season).
Males mate with a small number of females. Pregnancy lasts 64 days and results in one to four babies (2 on average). Young African palm civets rely on their mothers’ milk until they are 60 days old. After that, they are ready to go hunting and collecting food with their mother.
Females secrete a yellowish-orange substance from their mammary glands, which they use to cover their babies’ bellies and fur. Bright yellow fur is most likely a sign that the female is not yet ready to mate.
At the age of 2 to 3 years, young African palm civets reach sexual maturity.
The African palm civet can live in the wild for up to 15 years and in captivity for up to 21 years.