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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Masked Palm Civet Facts You’ll Never Forget

Masked palm civets facts are all about the mammals found in China and other South-Asian countries

If you want to read more about unique mammals, then you'll love to read about the masked palm civet or Paguma larvata. Masked Palm Civet (Paguma larvata) is a species of palm civets found primarily in Asia, especially in the Indian Subcontinent, Southern China, and the South-east region of Asia. Also called the gem-faced civet, the masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) is one of the most widespread civets in the world. With its population having little chance of dwindling in the coming years, the animal has been classified on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern.

The masked palm civet (Paguma larvata), being inhabitants of Southern China and Southeast Asia, are nocturnal (active during the night) predators who are known to be arboreal (living in trees) as well. These nocturnal predators have close resemblances to the other palm civets but do not have the signature spots or stripes. While they usually live up to 10 years amongst the other wildlife in the forest, the Paguma larvata or the gem-faced civet can live for 20 years in captivity. Interestingly, the masked palm civet is incredibly territorial, and their territories usually cover 0.24-0.5 mi (0.4-0.8 km) of forest area. These civet species of predators with their black and white facial masks mark their area in the forests by producing a foul smell from their anal glands - this character is very unique among the population of these mammals. To know more fascinating facts about the masked palm civet, read on! For more information on palm civets like the gem-faced civets, take a look at African civet and Asian palm civet.

Masked Palm Civet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a masked palm civet?

Although mistakenly referred to as cats, masked palm civets are mammals that are more related to mongooses than cats with their distinct black and white facial features.

What class of animal does a masked palm civet belong to?

The masked palm civet is a mammal belonging to the Viverridae family. The scientific name of these unique and small animals is Paguma larvata.

How many masked palm civets are there in the world?

Although there is no particular number, the population of these small nocturnal species of predators is quite high.

Where does a masked palm civet live?

A masked palm civet is known to live in tropical rainforests found in Southern and South-eastern parts of Asia, especially India and China. They are also found in mountainous regions and near human settlements that are located close to evergreen and deciduous forests.

What is a masked palm civet's habitat?

Masked palm civets are nocturnal predators who prefer to go about their own business in a solitary fashion. These small animals are mostly arboreal in nature, i.e., they live and move amongst trees and like to stay out of sight. During the day, they sleep on treetops which are near water sources. These species of animals do not engage in nest-building, and usually, the masked palm civet does not reuse a particular treetop bed where they sleep. Whenever threatened by other species of animals, the masked palm civet releases a stinking scent from their anal glands that act as a deterrent for their attackers. There are also many scientists who believe that the black and white facial mask on the face of these masked palm civets is a way to appear intimidating to other wildlife.

Who do masked palm civets live with?

While masked palm civets usually live a solitary life in forests, they have been known for breeding in captivity in Thailand, China, and other countries. Although experts advise against it, many instances where a tame masked palm civet has been kept as a pet has been observed. However, these animals are shy and are likely to stay out of human sight whenever possible.

How long does a masked palm civet live?

The solitary-natured gem-faced civet or the Paguma larvata has a long lifespan of 10 years when they survive alone in the wild and the forest, amongst other wildlife. When held in a captive habitat, the masked palm civet has been known to live up to 20 years. On average, these animals have a lifespan of 10-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction and breeding cycle of these civet species are fascinating. These animals have a distinct mating behavior with multiple mating partners since the female is polyestrous (has more than one ovulation in their reproduction cycle). There are two breeding seasons in a single year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, for the masked palm civets to exhibit mating behavior. The female of this species has a gestation period of about 75 days in the reproduction cycle, and the average litter consists of four pups.

What is their conservation status?

Since they are usually found in areas where there are wildlife and animal protection, the population distribution of these species of animals is high. Added to that advantage is the fact that the masked palm civet can tolerate habitat modification to some extent. All these factors contribute to labeling our civet friends Least Concern the IUCN Red List. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is a special list for animals, where we can see the population and conservation status of a particular species.

Masked Palm Civet Fun Facts

What do masked palm civets look like?

The masked palm civets have brownish and reddish fur on their body and their tail. However, the most distinct feature of these masked palm civets, which is different from other palm civets, is the face. The masked palm civets have a white and black facial mask from which they derive their name. The white-colored fur starts from its nose and runs between the eyes to reach the blackish forehead. The tail consists of gray fur, and the inch-long rounded ears give these masked palm civets a mixed appearance, crossing between a raccoon and a cat. This is one of the main reasons civets are also known as civet cats. So, be careful when identifying them, and the next time you see Rocket in an Avengers movie, don't you dare call him a masked palm civet!

Facts about masked palm civet always include its reproduction cycle.

How cute are they?

Perhaps the cuteness of this masked palm civet stems from its appearance. This small mammal is very private and not really what you will call friendly. But beware! Do not cross this evasive and solitary animal as he might release the foul smell from his anal glands, which makes the masked palm civet very similar in behavior to skunks.

How do they communicate?

Like most other palm civets, the masked palm civets communicate through various vocal actions. While they are both in captivity and the forest, the masked palm civet has been seen to communicate through whining, growling, hissing, and cooing to express various forms of their emotions.

How big is a masked palm civet?

The masked palm civet is quite a small animal, but with a unique feature of a tail that is almost two-thirds of its body size. The head and body of the masked palm civet have a length of 20-30 in (51-76 cm) with a tail that grows up to the length of  20-25 in (51-63 cm). They are of almost the same size as an average mongoose and one-fifth the size of a tiger, one of the main predators who prey on masked palm civets.

How fast can a masked palm civet run?

A masked palm civet is generally known to be a fast mover due to its small size. They are supposed to have an average speed of around 40 km/hr. They are also fast climbers on trees which helps them from getting away from the threats on land.

How much does a masked palm civet weigh?

On the issue of weight, the masked palm civet weighs on an average between 4-9.5 lb. The highest weight recorded weight reached by this animal is around 13 lb. A baby masked palm civet usually weighs approximately three oz.

What are their male and female names of the species?

In terms of gender, a masked palm civet has no distinct name for the male and female population of the species. Scientists and experts refer to both males and females as simply masked palm civets.

What would you call a baby masked palm civet?

A baby masked palm civet does not have any specific name and is referred to by the general name of pup.

What do they eat?

Masked palm civets have a diet that varies according to their habitat. The omnivorous diet of the masked palm civets indicates that they eat rats, small birds, snakes, and frogs. In terms of fruit, they have bananas. Leaves of fruit trees also make their way into their diet. Sometimes, a delicious mango is also a fruit that a masked palm civet will eat.

Are they loud?

As already mentioned, masked palm civets communicate via vocal actions. Some of these vocal actions are indeed loud, like hissing and growling, as they are vocal actions usually used to communicate anger or fear.

Would they make a good pet?

Although there are many masked palm civets in captivity in Thailand, China, and other countries, these animals are not advised to be taken as family pets as they have the proclivity to be dangerous for humans.

Did you know...

Masked palm civets make excellent use of their long tails while climbing up trees. They use their long, furry tails to hang from branches while they traverse the heights of the trees.

Other interesting facts about the masked palm civet include the fact that just after being born, a baby masked palm civet and a mother masked palm civet enjoy a close bond. The pups are usually raised in hollows amongst tree trunks.

We can also safely assume that since these animals are nocturnal, they have adaptations in their eyes to see clearly in the dark!

What is their lifestyle?

These animals are solitary hunters who hunt for prey during the night while they sleep all throughout the day.

How do they avoid predators?

The signature ways masked palm civets avoid predators are by either climbing up trees or by producing a foul smell from their anal glands that detract predators from coming near them. Additionally, the facial mask that these civets are known for is also instrumental in combating threats.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including woolly monkey, or raccoon dog.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our masked Palm civet coloring pages.

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