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(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 ?
By the sixteenth century people in India were aware that there were several types of civet from several places, as we see from an important and very detailed source in Persian.
The most ancient civets occur in sediments of Late Eocene and Early Oligocene age.
The palm civet eats small animals, insects, fruit and seeds.
While fully-cooked civet meat was probably safe, people could have been infected as they handled the animals while raising, killing or preparing them, university microbiologist Dr Yuen Kwok-yung said.
If anybody is to blame for Robert's compulsion to hunt snakes and eat civet you suspect it was probably his grandfather, 'The Colonel'.
This pathetic mongoose-type animal called a civet, once roaming in the wild, is now condemned to a life of misery and torture - all in the name of the world's favourite perfumes.
After observing a warm familiarity and friendship between Hu and the civet, police confirmed that the civet was indeed a pet and that Hu did not have any intention to sell the animal.
Footage shows the civets locked in dirty, barren cages, suffering from skin infections.
Summary: From giant flying squirrels to the rare spotting of an otter civet, get ready to explore
It is not allowed to kill wild animals in Nepal (HMG, 1973), however, we recorded hunting and selling of Indian Hares (Lepus nigricollis) for bush meat frequently in Janakpur (Figure 3a), hunting of Barking Deer (Muntiacus vaginalis) and Masked Palm Civets (Paguma larvata) at Ghorlikharka, Dhankuta.
Contract notice: Expansion Works Wastewater Collection Networks - Municipality Of Royan - Rue Des Civets
Based on data from a project conducted from 2000 to 2012, this guide profiles 120 species of mammals, such as monkeys, civets, shrews, cloud rats, earthworm mice, rodents, and bats, found on Luzon Island in the Philippines, along with discussion of their biogeography in terms of the climate and habitat, topography and elevational diversity patterns, geological history and fossil mammals, speciation and diversification, habitat disturbance and invasive species, and conservation.