Help the Civets

On this page, you will find some tips and resources to help the civets, both directly and indirectly. Do have a look at the first section, which discusses some dos and don’ts should you encounter a civet in your home. After which, please have a look at the next section about the Kopi Luwak (civet poop coffee) trade. We hope to make everyone aware of the cruelties of this trade, and hence make more informed consumer decisions should they encounter the sale of this coffee at any point of time.

Part I: Should you encounter a civet in your home.

You don’t really see civets around in broad daylight, and that’s why not many people know about them and hence don’t know what to do when they encounter one.

So what should you do when you find a civet?

First, check the identity of the animal. Does the animal that you have found look like this?

Civet in broad daylight (Photo by Xu Weiting)

Baby civet (Photo by Thanh Son Nguyen)

When people find young orphaned civets, whether tiny eyes-closed infants or slightly older with eyes-open babies, it is usually due to a few reasons:

  1. The den site has been disturbed or destroyed – these could be due to human (eg. tree cutting works, house renovation/building work on roof) or natural causes.

  2. The mother is moving her young and one or more have fallen or been separated. Older ones tend to be more inquisitive in nature, they might sometimes wander off and be separated from the mother.

What should you do?

  1. Check to see if the baby civet has any physical injuries. Take note that the baby might feel threatened in a foreign environment and may attempt to bite when handled. Transfer it to a box or pet carrier using a cloth to minimise human contact with it (photo below).

Civet being handled with a fabric material

  1. Contact Mr N. Sivasothi (sivasothi@gmail.com) or Xu Weiting (xuwt87@gmail.com) to alert us of the baby civet. Please leave your contact details so that we can contact you soon. Please provide us with the following

    • Time in which you found the baby civet

    • Physical description of the baby (body length, any injuries, closed or opened eyes, teeth, etc.)

    • Location and type of area (private estate, next to forested area, etc.)

    • Are there other civets (adults/ young) frequently seen in the area where you found the baby civet?

NOTE: If the civet appears injured and in need of medical attention, please contact the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) as soon as possible. They have a 24-hour rescue hotline which you can reach at 9783 7782. You may also contact ACRES if you wish for the civet to be removed from your property. ACRES will then release them back into the forest. 

All these information will be vital for the evaluation of rehabilitation of the baby civet. We will advise you if rehabilitation is possible, as it should be best done on the first evening that the baby civet is found. After which, the baby might be rejected by the parent due to increased human contact.

What to feed the baby civets?

For young with shut eyes or newly open eyes and not weaned –

  • Please do not give cow’s milk. Instead, please provide it with commercial milk formula available for kittens at pets store.

  • Warm the milk and feed the civet with a syringe. This is to allow small amounts of fluid to be fed at a time in order to prevent any choking.

For young with opened eyes and weaned –

  • Fruits such as apples, bananas or papayas can be provided to the young civets.

  • Usually, the baby civet tend to be too young to eat fruit chunks. Instead, mash the fruits into a pulp. The civet can obtain nutrients from the pulp and juice of the fruits.

How to manage the well-being of the baby civets before help comes?

Two baby civets in a box with warm water bottle & fabrics

1. Continue to minimise human and animal contact between you and the baby civet, as the parent civet might not welcome the baby back if it has foreign scent.

2. Place the baby in a box with a warm water bottle and some old clothes to keep it warm (refer to left photo).

3. Keep the box in a shaded area with no air-conditioning as civets are nocturnal animals, hence, they tend to rest in the day.

If rehabilitation is deemed possible:

1. After dusk/nightfall, place the box in an area where the adult civet can retrieve the baby easily.

2. Avoid places where there might be monitor lizards, stray cats or dogs to prevent further trauma and danger to both parent and baby civet.

3. Please contact us the next morning to inform us if the release was a success.

 

What if rehabilitation failed?

Do not worry! We will arrange for the baby civet to be sent to Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) Veterinary department. The WRS team will nurse the baby civets until they are older (approx. 6 months old) and they will also undergo a series of medical checks to ensure that they have a clean bill of health.

Once they are of a suitable age and are healthy, they will be evaluated for release back into the wild. The National Parks Singapore (NParks) personnel will be contacted and a suitable habitat will be decided for the release of the civet. However, for those individuals that are unable to be rehabilitated, they will be kept at the WRS Night Safari exhibit with the existing group of common palm civets.

What happens when everything is over?

Congratulations on helping a baby civet find its way home! Thank you for your help and cooperation in conserving one of Singapore’s last urban carnivore.

If you would like to contribute a mammal record or photos of the baby civet, please feel free to send them in here. The record that you have contributed is important as it can aid in public awareness and education programs.

Also, if you are interested in joining any activities related to civet conservation, please feel free to leave a comment below or drop us an email. Once again, we hope that you had a pleasant experience taking care of our native common palm civet!

Part II: Kopi Luwak

We strongly advise everyone against trying or purchasing Kopi Luwak. More commonly known as civet poop coffee or The World’s Most Expensive Coffee, Kopi Luwak actually has a frightening story hidden behind closed doors.

The common palm civet is the most commonly used species of civet for the coffee beans. However, as the trade gets bigger, more and more civets are being captured from the wild and housed in tiny cages alongside one another. Poachers are also beginning to trap other species of civets as well. Civets are solitary animals, so being housed so close to one another increases their stress levels. They start to exhibit stereotypical behaviour such as pacing around in their small cages and slamming their heads repeatedly against the metal bars in attempt to get out.

In order to increase the yield of the coffee beans, some Kopi Luwak farmers feed the civets coffee cherries exclusively on a daily basis. This causes the civets to experience a caffeine overdose, and because of all that excess energy that they have nothing or nowhere to channel to, they began to gnaw their own paws off.

Eventually, many of the civets die due to the poor living conditions and malnutrition – a diet consisting of only coffee cherries does not provide sufficient nutrients to sustain them. They require a variety of foods in their diet such as fruits, insects, and small mammals. Some civets that no longer have the ability to digest the coffee cherries due to illnesses (many of them start to pass out blood in their faeces) are eventually released back into the wild. However, these civets do not survive for long.

The Kopi Luwak industry which uses farmed civets are not sustainable. So please do share this page and the information that you’ve learnt with the people around you, so that we can continually generate awareness of this trade. We believe that once the consumer demand stops, the trade will eventually cease.

Have a look at these pages for more information:

2012:

World’s most expensive coffee tainted by ‘horrific’ civet abuse – The Guardian, article by Oliver Milman. (19 Nov 2012)

2013:

Kopi Luwak Brown-gold blend – The Economist, Science and Technology. (31 Aug 2013)

Civet coffee: why it’s time to cut the crap – The Guardian, Word of Mouth Blog article by Tony Wild. (13 Sep 2013)

Civet cat coffee’s animal cruelty secrets – BBC News, London article by Guy Lynn & Chris Rogers. (13 Sep 2013)

Indonesian cat-poo coffee producers deny mislabelling – Channel NewsAsia. article by Agence France-Presse. (13 Sep 2013)

Indonesian Kopi Luwak Producers Deny Mislabelling – Jakarta Globe, article by Agence France-Presse. (14 Sep 2013)

Video: Our World Coffee’s Cruel Secret – BBC News, Our World (15 Sep 2013)

The World’s Most Expensive Coffee Is a Cruel Cynical Scam – Time, World article by Yenni Kwok, @yennikwok. (02 Oct 2013)

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12 thoughts on “Help the Civets

  1. I have found two baby “thngs” which I think are civets in my garden in Bali!
    Very small still with a bit of cord attached. ………………no sign of Mum. I heard them mew in the bushes for a day then saw them venturing out on the grass. I would think if Mumwas around she would have dragged them back. What to feed? Have given them dropper with water so far.
    Greyish brown with what looks like the beginnings of spots or stripes on the back. Tail as long as body and quite sharp faces.
    Advice please!
    Thanks
    Marilyn

  2. Pingback: Baby civets found in Bali home garden | Life of a common palm civet in Singapore

  3. Pingback: Injuried baby civet rescued in Kuala Lumpur | Life of a common palm civet in Singapore

  4. hi, i have 2 baby civets (i think thats what they are) in my bathroom in Bali – since we had a big storm last night. they are now sleeping in a suitcase wrappes in a sheet for warmth. what should i feed them? how can i help them get back to mum? they are approx 20cm long, eyes open. please help me help them, thanks.

  5. I have 3 (maybe 1 month old) civets that were rescued after some villagers killed off the mother. We are a coffee growers in Laos. There laws of civets don’t apply here (most people kill them and eat them). My hope is to raise them and hopefully in the future enough of them to produce some kopi luwak.

    The civets look very malnourished because the hair on their backs are falling off. What do you suggest I do now and to raise them? Thank you.

  6. i found a baby civet( eyes closed) in good health.I need help in taking care of it. think its just days old, please help

  7. I found a baby palm civet to day morning behind the road.I don’t want take the risk of reunion with the mother because there are lots of stray stay near by that area.

  8. How does one know when the civet baby can start eating fruit pulp? That is, how does one know that it has weaned and is ready for other foods? A few days ago I found a civet baby as big as my hand, not including the tail, with recently opened eyes. It likes the milk I give him with a pipet and it seems to be doing well. She has very sharp nails, which scratch my skin.
    Tusita
    Sri Lanka

  9. My home is an old type one with single roof panelled with wood. It is not possible to reach us the roof. However the civet baby (toddy cat) coming usually on the top and we can hear the sound only. Sometimes it urinate also. we want to remove the toddy cat from the roof top permanently. Pls. give us a solution for this.

  10. Dear Jhon,

    Singapore is a rabies free country and so far we do not have any evidence that civets here have rabies.
    Even though the civets do not have rabies, it is always best to observe the animals from a safe distance.

  11. Hi. Can someone pick up a asian palm civet from my mum house? He came to my mum’s bed to sleep n eat.. my mum took a small cage n it went in n sleep on its own. can someone pick it up soon? Cherylene. SINGAPORE.

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