African palm civet

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African palm civet
The carnivores of West Africa (Nandinia binotata white background).png
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Nandiniidae
Pocock, 1929
Genus: Nandinia
Gray, 1843
N. binotata
Binomial name
Nandinia binotata
(Gray, 1830)
African Palm Civet area.png
African palm civet range
Synonyms [2]

Viverra binotataGray 1830

The African palm civet (Nandinia binotata), also known as the two-spotted palm civet, is a small feliform mammal widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. [1]



The African palm civet is grey to dark brown with dark spots on the back. It has short legs, small ears, a lean body, and a long ringed tail. It has two sets of scent glands on the lower abdomen and between the third and fourth toes on each foot, which secrete a strong smelling substance used to mark territory and in mating. Adult females reach a body length of 37–61 cm (15–24 in) with a 34–70 cm (13–28 in) long tail and weigh 1.2–2.7 kg (2.6–6.0 lb). Adult males reach 39.8–62.5 cm (15.7–24.6 in) in body length with a 43–76.2 cm (16.9–30.0 in) long tail and weigh 1.3–3 kg (2.9–6.6 lb). [3]

The African palm civet's ear canal is not divided and cartilaginous at the end. [4]

Distribution and habitat

The African palm civet ranges throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa from Guinea to South Sudan, south to Angola and into eastern Zimbabwe. It has been recorded in deciduous forests, lowland rainforests, gallery and riverine forests, savanna woodlands, and logged forests up to an altitude of 2,500 m (8,200 ft). [1]

In Senegal, it was observed in 2000 in Niokolo-Koba National Park, which encompasses mainly open habitat dominated by grasses. [5] In Guinea's National Park of Upper Niger, it was recorded during surveys conducted in 1996 to 1997. [6] In Liberian Upper Guinean forests, it was sighted in Gbarpolu County and Bong County during surveys in 2013. [7] In the 1950s, one individual was wild-caught on Bioko Island. [8] However, it was not recorded on the island during subsequent surveys between 1986 and 2015. [9]

In Gabon’s Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, it was recorded in forested areas during a camera-trapping survey in 2012. [10] In Batéké Plateau National Park, it was recorded only west of the Mpassa River during surveys carried out between June 2014 and May 2015. [11]

In Zanzibar, it was recorded in groundwater forest on Unguja Island in 2003. [12]

Behaviour and ecology

The African palm civet is a nocturnal, largely arboreal mammal that spends most of the time on large branches, among lianas in the canopy of trees. It eats fruits such as those of the African corkwood tree ( Musanga cecropioides ), Uapaca , persimmon (Diospyros hoyleana), fig trees (Ficus), papayas (Carica papaya) and bananas (Musa). [13]

Males have home ranges of 34–153 ha (0.13–0.59 sq mi) and females of 29–70 ha (0.11–0.27 sq mi). The home range of a dominant male includes home ranges of several females. [13]


In Gabon, females were recorded to give birth in the long wet season and at the onset of the dry season between September and January. [13] The female usually gives birth after a gestation period of 2–3 months. A litter consists of up to four young that are suckled for around three months. While she has suckling young the female's mammary glands produce an orange-yellow liquid which discolours her abdomen and the young civets' fur. This probably discourages males from mating with nursing females.[ citation needed ] Its generation length is 7.8 years. [14]

Taxonomy and evolution

In 1830, John Edward Gray first described an African palm civet using the name Viverra binotata based on a zoological specimen obtained from a museum in Leiden. [15]

In 1843, Gray proposed the genus Nandinia and subordinated Viverra binotata to this genus. [16]

In 1929, Reginald Innes Pocock proposed the family Nandiniidae, with the genus Nandinia as sole member. He argued that it differs from the Aeluroidea by the structure and shape of its ear canal and mastoid part of the temporal bone. [4]

Results of morphological and molecular genetic analyses indicate that it differs from viverrids and diverged from the Feliformia about 44.5 million years ago. [17]

Phylogenetic tree

The phylogenetic relationships of African palm civet is shown in the following cladogram: [17] [18] [19]



Nimravidae Dinictis Knight.jpg





Feloidea(sensu stricto) Stamp-russia2014-save-russian-cats-(snow leopard).png

Viverroidea Malay Civet (Viverra tangalunga) white background.jpg


Nandinia sp. (BAR 475’03)

 Nandinia binotata 

Nandinia binotata arborea

Nandinia binotata binotata

Nandinia binotata gerrardi

Nandinia binotata intensa

 (Feloideasensu lato) 


The African palm civet is threatened by habitat loss and hunting for bushmeat. [1] In 2006, it was estimated that more than 4,300 African palm civets are hunted yearly in the Nigerian part and around 3,300 in the Cameroon part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests. [20]

In Guinea, dead African palm civets were recorded in spring 1997 on bushmeat market in villages located in the vicinity of the National Park of Upper Niger. [21] Dried heads of African palm civets were found in 2007 at the Bohicon and Dantokpa Markets in southern Benin, suggesting that they are used as fetish in animal rituals. [22] The attitude of rural people in Ghana towards African palm civets is hostile; they consider them a menace to their food resources and safety of children. [23] In Gabon, it is among the most frequently found small carnivores for sale in bushmeat markets. [24] Upper Guinean forests in Liberia are considered a biodiversity hotspot. They have already been fragmented into two blocks. Large tracts are threatened by commercial logging and mining activities, and are converted for agricultural use including large-scale oil palm plantations in concessions obtained by a foreign company. [7]

Related Research Articles

Viverridae family of mammals, the viverrids

Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids, comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Members of this family are commonly called civets or genets. Viverrids are found in South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line, all over Africa, and into southern Europe. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.

African golden cat Small wild cat

The African golden cat is a wild cat endemic to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. It is threatened due to deforestation and bushmeat hunting and listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It is a close relative of both the caracal and the serval. Previously, it was placed in the genus Profelis. Its body size ranges from 61 to 101 cm with a 16 to 46 cm long tail.

Bushmeat Meat hunted in tropical forests

Bushmeat is meat from wildlife species that are hunted for human consumption in tropical forests. Bushmeat is an important food resource for poor people, particularly in rural areas.

Asian palm civet Species of viverrid

The Asian palm civet is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. Since 2008, it is IUCN Red Listed as Least Concern as it accommodates to a broad range of habitats. It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining. In Indonesia, it is threatened by poaching and illegal wildlife trade; buyers use it for the increasing production of kopi luwak.

African civet largest representative of the African Viverridae

The African civet is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry.

Otter civet species of mammal

The otter civet is a semiaquatic civet native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is listed as Endangered because of a serious ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 50% over the past three generations, inferred from direct habitat destruction, and indirect inferred declines due to pollutants.

Fossa (animal) Cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar

The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar. It is a member of the Eupleridae, a family of carnivorans closely related to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). Its classification has been controversial because its physical traits resemble those of cats, yet other traits suggest a close relationship with viverrids. Its classification, along with that of the other Malagasy carnivores, influenced hypotheses about how many times mammalian carnivores have colonized Madagascar. With genetic studies demonstrating that the fossa and all other Malagasy carnivores are most closely related to each other, carnivorans are now thought to have colonized the island once, around 18 to 20 million years ago.

Hoses palm civet species of mammal

Hose's palm civet, also known as Hose's civet, is a viverrid species endemic to the island of Borneo. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable because of an ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations and suspected to be more than 30% in the next three generations due to declines in population inferred from habitat destruction and degradation.

Small Indian civet species of mammal

The small Indian civet is a civet native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List because of its widespread distribution, widespread habitat use and healthy populations living in agricultural and secondary landscapes of many range states.

Genet (animal) genus of mammals

A genet is a member of the genus Genetta, which consists of 14 to 17 species of small African carnivorans. Genet fossils from the Pliocene have been found in Morocco. The common genet is the only genet present in Europe and occurs in the Iberian Peninsula and France.

Egyptian mongoose Species of mammal

The Egyptian mongoose, also known as ichneumon, is a mongoose species native to the Iberian Peninsula, coastal regions along the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Turkey, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands in Africa. Because of its widespread occurrence, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Masked palm civet species of mammal

The masked palm civet or gem-faced civet is a civet species native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is classified by IUCN in 2008 as Least Concern as it occurs in many protected areas, is tolerant to some degree of habitat modification, and widely distributed with presumed large populations that are unlikely to be declining.

Malayan civet species of mammal

The Malayan civet, also known as the Malay civet and Oriental civet, is a viverrid native to the Malay Peninsula and the islands of Sumatra, Bangka, Borneo, the Riau Archipelago, and the Philippines. It is listed as "Least Concern" by IUCN as it is a relatively widely distributed, appears to be tolerant of degraded habitats, and occurs in a number of protected areas.

Large Indian civet species of mammal

The large Indian civet is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The global population is considered decreasing mainly because of trapping-driven declines in heavily hunted and fragmented areas, notably in China, and the heavy trade as wild meat.

Long-nosed mongoose species of mammal

The long-nosed mongoose is a mongoose native to Central African wetlands and rainforests. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 1996.

Central African oyan species of mammal

The Central African oyan, also called Central African linsang, is a linsang species native to Central Africa.

Civet Mammals of the families Viverridae and Nandiniidae

A civet is a small, lean, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. Most of the species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The best-known civet species is the African civet, Civettictis civetta, which historically has been the main species from which a musky scent used in perfumery was obtained. The word civet may also refer to the distinctive musky scent produced by the animals.

Feliformia suborder of mammals in the order Carnivora

Feliformia is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "cat-like" carnivorans, including cats, hyenas, mongooses, civets, and related taxa. Feliformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Carnivora, Caniformia.

Red-eared guenon species of mammal

The red-eared guenon, red-eared monkey, or russet-eared guenon is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae. It is found in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss, illegal bushmeat hunting and pet trade.

Gabon bushbaby species of mammal

The Gabon bushbaby is a species of primate in the family Galagidae found in Cameroon, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo. Its head and body length is 8.5 in with a 10-in tail, and it weighs about 10 oz. It lives in evergreen tropical rainforests and eats primarily fallen fruit, but also some arthropods.


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