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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We went MAD for Musang on 27th May 2016!

Friday 27 May 2016 – The Cicada Tree Eco-Place and the NUS Civet Research Team (NCRT) brought 34 members of the public on a close to three-hour night walk.

The night walk is part of Pesta Ubin 2016, a five-week open house initiative with plenty of activities lined up to celebrate the off-shore island Pulau Ubin.

The participants met at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, ready to bump-boat their way to Pulau Ubin. Photo by Katie Tan.

Participants arrived after sunset. Photo by Ria Tan.

Participants arrived after sunset. Photo by Ria Tan.

The eventful night started off with a slideshow presentation by Vilma D’Rozario from Cicada Tree Eco-Place, and Xu Weiting from NCRT to introduce the participants to the civets and other local wildlife that live on the island. Andrew Tay from Cicada Tree Eco-place, and Ria Tan from Wildsingapore also shared some do’s and don’t’s of going to the forest.

Vilma D'Rozario's stories left her audience curious and captivated. Photo by Ria Tan.

Vilma D’Rozario’s stories left her audience curious and captivated. Photo by Ria Tan.

Weiting shared some tips on finding out the diet of the musang. Photo by Katie Tan.

The participants and guides then headed off to the forest trails with their torches. The group walked for an hour and a half and saw many interesting flora and fauna. Coincidentally, it was flowering season for durians and many of the trails were filled with yellow durian flowers. Being quiet and respectful of nature, the participants were graced by the presence of flying foxes, smaller bats, a nightjar, an oriental scops owl, a rare eight-spotted crab spider, and last but not least, a common palm civet!


The musang finally appeared at the end of the walk. All craned their necks just to catch a glimpse of the eyeshine of this amazing creature atop of the towering durian tree! Photo by Ria Tan.

We thank the participants for their enthusiasm, Cicada Tree Eco-Place (Andrew Tay & Vilma D’Rozario) and Pesta Ubin organiser, Ria Tan and Pesta Ubin volunteer, Mohammad Juhari, for making the night so wonderful for everyone. It was a night walk filled with numerous interesting stories and fun facts! We are also very grateful to Uncle Lim on the island who kindly allowed us to use his backyard as the holding venue.

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