Civets in artwork

It is hard to get civets in photographs, let alone in artwork. In the last month of 2016, we received two lovely common palm civet artwork submissions.

The first is from Henrietta Woo. She chose to take up the challenge of drawing Mr Kinky Tail for one of her drawing classes. Some of you might be familiar with Mr Kinky Tail. He/she is an urban civet that was sighted in Opera Estate, Singapore. Nonetheless, Mr Kinky Tail will always remain as a very special civet.

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Henrietta’s artwork of Mr Kinky Tail. Thanks for keeping the memory of Mr Kinky Tail alive, Henrietta!

Xu Weiting- civet in daylight

Mr Kinky Tail in broad daylight

The second is of a common palm civet on a figging tree. This watercolour painting was done by Mireille Murphy. This was inspired by civet sightings on Frasers’ Hill. The drawing truly reflects a common palm civet’s frugivorous habits. Civets can occasionally be found in figging trees and sometimes, if you are in luck, you might even find more than one individual. Did you notice another unusual characteristic about this civet? Instead of the usual black tail, there are some individuals which have a white or off white-tipped tail. Such unique characteristics are useful in allowing researchers to identify specific individuals in an area.

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Amazing common palm civet water colour painting by Mireille Murphy

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Doesn’t it look like this civet with a white-tipped tail?

Civet sightings are hard to come by, so if you do have the fortune of urban civets visiting your house or have seen civets in your neighbourhood, please do share with us your sightings here. As 2016 comes to an end, we carry on with the hope that more people here in Singapore and in the rest of Southeast Asia will come to have a better understanding and appreciation of our native urban carnivoran, the common palm civet. And hopefully these efforts will translate into positive actions for civets, such as reducing the exploitation of wild civets for farmed kopi luwak trade or promoting co-existence between civets and humans in urban landscapes.

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If you have a masked fruit bandit in your roof & wish to remove it, what should you do?

A juvenile common palm civet resting on a rooftop surface - caught on our night camera.

A juvenile common palm civet resting on a rooftop surface – caught on our night camera.

Common palm civets are shy nocturnal animals which are usually found living in forests, mangroves, parks and even in some urban areas. Due to the close proximity of human houses to the natural habitats of the civets, they may be found in roof spaces of some houses, which may be used as cross links to get to other patches of forests or even as nesting sites.

If you have civets coming into your house and wish to prevent this from happening, we advocate methods which do not involve trapping the civets. Here are some methods that you can try –

  1. Block access points

Civets are nimble and agile creatures, and to them gaps between roofs and ceilings could be points of entries to explore dark and quiet spaces such as the attic. If you are not a fan of hosting wild civets in your home, you may like to to block off these entry points by installing vent covers and closing up gaps with wire mesh and cable ties. It is also advised to patch up holes in the roofs. Blocking off access points high up in the roof is no easy feat as reaching these gaps may be dangerous for us. Do consider contacting a contractor to do these tasks for you.

2. Remove food sources

You can make your home less inviting to the civets by keeping away food sources from the exterior and perimeter of your homes. Store away any leftover or exposed food items before you head to bed, as civets are nocturnal creatures which forage at night. Clear pet trays of any leftover or spilled pet food as well. Keep all trash bins properly shut for the night especially if they are full and waiting to be emptied by the garbage truck the next day. If you leave food, especially fruits, out in the kitchen, do remember to close the windows to prevent any masked fruit bandits from entering the house.

3. Burn incense containing Frankincense oil

Civets are extremely sensitive to scents and the presence of the smells coming from burning incense may drive them away from your houses. We suggest getting incense which contain Frankincense oil which had been tried and tested for to repel civets. One source we know that you may purchase such incense from is Aljunied Brothers, a shop found along Arab Street, unit number 95. Please note that you will need to burn the incense in a lamp container. We advise you to consult the shopkeepers to learn how to burn incense in a safe and effective manner so it does not become a fire hazard.

The above are preventive measures that you may choose to follow to repel civets from visiting and nestling in your home. However, should the civets already be making their presence in your house, please do not use traps (be it cages or glue traps) on them as those may harm the civets physically. Unfortunate stories of civet incidents have been covered by this blog before and you can read them here to know more: [1], [2], [3].

Instead, please contact Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) who has a 24-hour rescue service (Tel: +65 9783 7782), as they will be able to advice and to provide animal rescue for the civets or other fauna found in your homes.

We would like to end off the blog post with this remarkable video produced by grade 5 students (10-11 yo) from the United World College South East Asia East Campus (Anna, Sai, Mary Jane, Kruthi). The video creatively provides tips on what we should do if we encounter civets in our homes.

 

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