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Related to civet: civet cat


(sĭv`ət) or

civet cat,

any of a large group of mostly nocturnal mammals of the Old World family Viverridae (civet family), which also includes the mongoosemongoose,
name for a large number of small, carnivorous, terrestrial Old World mammals of the civet family. They are found in S Asia and in Africa, with one species extending into S Spain.
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. Civets are not true cats, but the civet family is related to the cat family (Felidae). Most civets have catlike bodies, long tails, and weasellike faces. Their fur may be gray or brown, and may be marked in various patterns. All civets have scent-producing glands, located in a double pouch near the genitals. The fatty yellow secretion of these glands has a distinctive musky odor used for territorial marking. Commercially, this substance is known as civet and is used as a perfume fixative. Civet can be removed from captive animals every 14 to 20 days. Some civet species are hunted for their fur. The ground-living, or true, civets form a distinctive group within the family; these animals have a highly carnivorous diet. Most have dark spots and ringed tails. They include several Asian species (genus Viverra) and one African species (Civettictis civetta). Best known is the Indian civet, V. zibetha, of S Asia, from which most of the civet for perfume is derived. It has tawny fur with black spots and black bands on the tail. It is about 30 in. (76 cm) long, excluding the 20-in. (42-cm) tail, and about 15 in. (38 cm) high at the shoulder; it weighs up to 25 lb (11 kg). Its musk glands are greatly enlarged. Some of the ground-living civets are called linsangs and genets. The palm civets form another distinct group within the civet family. These are arboreal, largely fruit-eating animals of Africa and Asia; they are classified in several genera. The North American spotted skunk is sometimes popularly called civet but is not closely related to civets. Civets are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Viverridae.



(Viverra), a genus of carnivorous mammals of the family Viverridae. Body length, 60-85 cm; tail length, 31-48 cm. The civets have glands which secrete a substance called civet.

There are three species: the Indian civet (V. zibetha), V. megaspila, and V. tangalunga. Civets are found in Southeast Asia. The Indian civet is encountered in Nepal, South China, and Assam as far as the Malay Peninsula. Civets live in the forests and dense brush, rarely climbing trees. They are nocturnal animals and often live close to settlements. Civets feed on small animals (birds and rodents), insects, and sometimes fruits and nuts. Civets breed once a year and sometimes twice; there are two to five kittens per litter. Civets are hunted for their musk and sometimes are bred in captivity. The name civet has also been applied to the representatives of certain other genera of the Viverridae family such as Vi~ verricula and Civettictis.



A fatty substance secreted by the civet gland; used as a fixative in perfumes.
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of 18 species of catlike, nocturnal carnivores assigned to the family Viverridae, having a long head, pointed muzzle, and short limbs with nonretractile claws.


1. any catlike viverrine mammal of the genus Viverra and related genera, of Africa and S Asia, typically having blotched or spotted fur and secreting a powerfully smelling fluid from anal glands
2. the yellowish fatty secretion of such an animal, used as a fixative in the manufacture of perfumes
3. the fur of such an animal
4. short for palm civet
References in periodicals archive ?
Peta found that many suppliers offering civet beans, which sell for over [pounds sterling]200 per 100g and can cost up to [pounds sterling]60 per cup, claimed to be from wild animals despite coming from caged civets.
She points out that if a luak eats 20 berries a night, and the berry eating season is a month long, and knowing that it takes about six pounds of berries to make one pound of green Kona coffee (and Kona has big beans), it will take a large civet population to produce the crop.
The world's most expensive coffee is, um, well, made from coffee beans which have been eaten by the cat-like civet, passed through its digestive tract where they are enhanced by enzymes, and have been.
The story goes that the civet - which is about the size of a cat - sniffs out only the best coffee cherries, eating the ripest and reddest and leaving the lesser specimens untouched.
The secret is the Asian palm civet, which eats only the ripest coffee berries, digests the fruit and expels the bean, after enzymes have broken down proteins that make the bean so bitter.
The coffee berries are eaten by the Asian Palm Civet, a kind of wild cat, and passed through its body.
China included one stipulation: all of the 54 exotic species the Chinese are again allowed to eat, including the civet, must be farm-raised, not caught in the wild.
To combat the disease in China, authorities have slaughtered thousands of civet cats, believed to be SARS vectors.
The development of the rat contraceptive followed a mass culling of civet cats by Guangdong Province in southern China earlier this month, along with a campaign to exterminate rats and other pests which are believed by some scientists to have been the potential virus carrier of severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS.
FRENCH film legend and animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot, pictured, has sent a letter to China's president urging him to end a policy of killing civet cats in the fight against the disease Sars.
China has ordered the slaughter of 10,000 civet cats and related species by the weekend to contain a possible Sars outbreak.
Our kopi luwak is selected from the Asian civet cat, which only eats the fruit pulp of the ripest coffee berries.