African palm civet

Live in harmony with a parasite causes the deadly Sleeping sickness in humans

An intriguing creature of the night, the African palm civet is native to the tropical rainforests and savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike its name suggests, the African palm civet is not a true civet and does not belong to the family Viverridae; instead, it occupies its own unique family, Nandiniidae. This distinction underlines its evolutionary divergence from other civet-like mammals, showcasing the diversity of the African continent’s wildlife.

The African Palm Civet is predominantly nocturnal, showing peak activity just before sunrise and after sunset. Its nocturnal habits allow it to forage for food under darkness, minimizing the risk of predation. During the day, these animals seek refuge in the dense foliage of trees or in the secluded nooks of the forest, where they can sleep undisturbed and camouflaged from potential threats, including humans.

Communication among African Palm Civets is facilitated through a combination of scent markings and vocalizations. These animals possess specialized scent glands located on their lower abdomen, under the chin, and on their feet, which they use to mark their territory and communicate with other civets. The musk produced by these glands has a specific scent that is unique to each individual. In addition to scent marking, they also emit hooting calls that play a crucial role in their social interactions, particularly during mating season or when signaling an alarm.

African Palm Civets are omnivorous, with a diet that includes a wide variety of fruits, small insects, and occasionally small vertebrates. Their preference for fruits such as figs and palm fruits contributes to seed dispersal, making them vital players in their ecosystems. Their ability to consume a diverse array of foods underscores their adaptability to different environmental conditions.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Angola
2015
Benin
2015
Burundi
2015
Cameroon
2015
Central Af. Rep.
2015
Congo-Brazzaville
2015
Côte D’ivoire
2015
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2015
Equatorial Guinea
2015
Possibly Extinct: Bioko
Gabon
2015
Gambia
2015
Ghana
2015
Guinea-Bissau
2015
Guinea
2015
Kenya
2015
Liberia
2015
Malawi
2015
Mozambique
2015
Nigeria
2015
Rwanda
2015
Senegal
2015
Sierra Leone
2015
South Sudan
2015
Tanzania
2015
Togo
2015
Uganda
2015
Zambia
2015
Zimbabwe
2015

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No