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Threatened by habitat loss and hunting for bushmeat, the African palm civet (Nandinia binotata), also referred to as the two-spotted palm civet, is a small feliform (cat-like) mammal native to the sub-Saharan Africa. Naturally crepuscular, the African palm civet is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
See the fact file below for more information on the African palm civet or alternatively, you can download our 21-page African Palm Civet worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In 1830, John Edward Gray initially defined the African palm civet using the name Viverra binotata from the zoological samples of a museum in Leiden.
- Thirteen years later, Gray suggested the genus Nandinia and subordinated Viverra binotata to this group.
- In 1929, British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock suggested the family Nandiniidae, with the genus Nandinia as its only member. He firmly believed that it differs from the Aeluroidea by the shape and design of its ear canal and mastoid region of the temporal bone.
- Morphological and molecular genetic analyses imply that it varies from viverrids and splitted from the Feliformia about 44.5 million years ago.
- African palm civets are slender-bodied mammals that reach 13 to 28 inches in body length and weigh 2.6 to 6.0 pounds for males and 15 to 24 inches and weigh 2.9 to 6.6 pounds for females.
- Despite their feliform appearance and demeanor, African palm civets are closely linked to genets, weasels, and mongooses.
- One of their distinguishable facial characteristics are their brown to light-tan to yellow colored thick pelage, which is covered with a number of darker brown spots. The fur is darker on the top half of their body and lets them blend more effectively amongst the trees.
- Just like other civets, their muzzles are sharply pointed and they have robust and muscular yet relatively short appendages. African palm civets also have small, rounded ears and yellow-green eyes with incision-shaped pupils.
- They have two types of scent glands on the lower abdomen and between the third and fourth toes on each foot, which give off a pungent scent to mark territory and in mating.
HABITAT AND DIET
- African palm civets are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, which extends from Guinea to South Sudan, south to Angola, and into the rightmost regions of Zimbabwe. They live in forests that are “falling off at maturity,” lowland rainforests, gallery and riverine forests, savanna woodlands, and logged forests up to heights of 2,500 m.
- In Senegal, African palm civets were discovered in 2000 in Niokolo-Koba National Park. In 2012, these feliforms were seen in Gabon’s Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, where they were spotted during a camera-trapping survey.
- In 2003, African palm civets were found in a groundwater forest on Unguja Island in Zanzibar.
- They are omnivorous mammals, and enjoy a plant and animal diet. Pineapples and other fruits comprise most of their diet. Small animals like rodents, lizards, birds, and frogs are also eaten by the African palm civet, along with insects.
- They make use of their hands in holding their prey and vigorously bite it a number of times to kill it, then devour it whole.
- The long and strong tail is assumed to aid as a brace when the African palm civet is balancing only on its back legs, and along with the thick-skinned pads on the base of its feet, sustaining the civet on the branch while it’s eating.
- Although notorious for being a secretive yet relatively barbaric predator, the African palm civet is eaten by many predators within its environment, such as lions, leopards, large snakes, and crocodiles.
- Their population also declines because of the threat from habitat loss and deforestation, and they have been targets of hunters for their musk.
BEHAVIOR AND LIFESTYLE
- African palm civets are solitary and crepuscular mammals; they search for food during twilight. They are tree-dwelling creatures that spend daylight hours mostly resting in the safety of the trees.
- They are usually active after sunset but start to hunt for prey in areas that still give plenty of cover.
- Despite being unsociable mammals, they are known to gather in large numbers of up to 15 members, especially during the mating season.
- They are highly territorial creatures, staining their borders with the scent released by their perineal glands.
REPRODUCTION AND LIFE CYCLE
- African palm civets breed twice annually, usually in the months of May and October during the rainy seasons, when there is an adequate supply of food.
- Females naturally give birth to up to four babies after a gestation period of a number of months. They nest in an underground burrow that has already been dug by other animals in order to securely raise their babies.
- African palm civet babies are nursed by their mother until they are old enough to defend themselves from other predators. Female African palm civet’s mammary glands secrete an orange-yellow liquid which stains her belly and the babies’ pelage the same color.
- African palm civets can live up to 15 years.
- Currently, African palm civets experience threats brought upon by deforestation, which causes habitat loss.
- They are listed as Least Concern species by the IUCN, meaning African palm civets face little threat at the moment.
African Palm Civet Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the African palm civet across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use African Palm Civet worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the African palm civet (Nandinia binotata), also referred to as the two-spotted palm civet, which is a small feliform (cat-like) mammal native to the sub-Saharan Africa. Naturally crepuscular, the African palm civet is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- African Palm Civet Facts
- Getting To Know
- Mating System
- Shade Some Facts
- African Palm Civet FAQs
- Life Story
- Two Palm Civets
- The Viverrids
- African Palm Civet Recap
- Other African Animals
- Now or Never
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Link will appear as African Palm Civet Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 5, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.