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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 ?
But even if we have had the Luwak coffee across Indonesia for hundreds of years, it wasn't until the 1980s when tourism really started to grow in Bali that we started to see the surge in demand and interest in this coffee," said Nyoman, who as part of the Bali Hai Tour agency has specialized in taking visiting tourists out to farms and small-holder coffee growers in the Kintamani region to show how the civet coffee is processed first hand.
De hecho, la convergencia se ha facilitado de cierta manera a partir de los noventas, no solo como efecto derrame generado por las directrices del Consenso de Washington y por la creacion de la OMC como organismo multilateral resultante de la Ronda Uruguay (1994) encargada de administrar las dinamicas del comercio global (7) sino por la necesidad de los paises CIVETS de internacionalizar sus economias y posicionarse en las nuevas logicas del sistema economico internacional.
uk/2013/09/civet-coffee-a-sip-of-cruelty/) here , shows how the civets exhibit neurotic behaviour such as incessant pacing, spinning and head-bobbing - indications that they are going insane from boredom and frustration.
Mongoose rabies and the African civet in Zimbabwe [letter].
Civet was remarkable, possibly unique, among animal-derived aromatics in the pre-modern era, in that the civets themselves could easily be kept in captivity and traded over large distances--assuring a less adulterated material, at least for traders, and what we would nowadays call a "sustainable" resource, so long as the animal itself was not endangered.
he beans pass through the digestive system of the civet, a small cat-like mammal, and are then separated from the faeces and processed before being sent to coffee fanatics all over the world.
Dubai Connoisseurs throughout the world have discovered the extraordinary taste of Civet coffee, or kopi luwak, as it is called in Indonesia, where it comes from.
One branch includes the various African and Oriental palm civets and binturong or bearcat of Asia.
The coffee called kopi luak made from these beans sells for $300 a pound roasted and has become so fashionable among connoisseurs that some civets are now kept in captivity.
But very little has changed, judging from a recent trip to the squalid animal market in Guangzhou, where the government ordered 10,000 civets exterminated after the World Health Organization determined the catlike animals carry a virus linked to SARS.
The province of Guangdong has tar- get ed 10,000 civets for slaughter -by drowning,electrocution or incineration -by tomorrow.