We are delighted to share this information about the African Civet with you. Because of their rarity and generally very little known by the general public we have decided to help improve their number by adding them to our Ambassador Species at the Education Center. We have had successful breeding and releases on the reserve.
The African civet is a mammal that is closely related to weasels and mongooses. This animal is widely distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa (from Senegal in the west to Somalia on the eastern coast and Botswana and Namibia on the south). African civet inhabits all areas that provide enough water, food, and shelter. It usually lives in mountain and lowland forests, swamps and savannas. The African civet is threatened by habitat loss and deforestation.
They are mostly nocturnal mammals. Historically the African Civet has been the main species from which a musky scent used in perfumery was obtained.
Civets have a broadly cat-like general appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, rather like that of an otter. They range in length from about 43 to 71 cm (17 to 28 in) (excluding their long tails) and in weight from about 1.4 to 4.5 kg (3 to 10 lbs.).
Both male and female civets produce the strong-smelling musk secretion, which is produced by the civet’s perineal glands.
Civets are omnivores or even herbivores. Depending on the availability of food they will forage on different fruits, berries and around carrion for grubs. Many species primarily eat fruit. Some also use flower nectar as a major source of energy.
In captivity, the female is reproductively mature at around the age of one. It’s unknown whether this age is the same in the wild. Facts about reproduction have been discovered by observing captive animals.
Females are polyestrous, which means they can have more than one litter in a year. A female may give birth to two to three litters in the same year. Their gestation is between sixty to seventy days where after a litter of one to four cubs is born. The cubs are completely furred and are mostly black. The cubs can crawl immediately after being born. The mother has 6 nipples on which the cubs nurse for four to six weeks. They are completely weaned around fourteen to sixteen weeks. African civets can live for fifteen to twenty years in captivity.