Solutions for Civet-Human Conflict: Alternatives to Traps

Last month, we reiterated the discouragement on the use of traps. But what are some humane alternatives that you can take or do to prevent civets from nesting in spaces of your home, should you not want them there? We advocate solutions that are beneficial to both the humans and civets, so who doesn’t like a win-win situation? We’ve put together a short list of solutions which we hope will help as it has helped many of our readers before as well.

1. Block off all access points

Yes, this takes up a bit of work and time but the provision of a physical barrier is often sufficient to prevent civets from entering the home. Gaps between the roof and ceilings are common entry points for the civets to nestle inside the roof spaces, so to prevent this from happening, you can utilise cable ties and wire mesh to block the gaps. Also, patch up any holes in the roofing that may potentially allow the civet(s) to enter your home. This seems easy, but is no child’s task when the areas are dangerous and difficult for us humans to reach! It is best to contact a contractor who can do this for you.

2. Make noises to signify that you don’t want them there.

This method is tried, tested, and proven by one of our readers, Kate, who contacted us to notify us that there was some form of animal activity going on in her roof. And it’s not noise in the form of howling or yelling. Rather, it’s a targeted form of noise-making. For example, when you hear that the civets are in your roof, sometimes scurrying about and playing, hit your ceiling board continuously where you suspect they are at. The noise and floor vibrations will frighten them and according to Kate, they haven’t been back since.

3. Burn some incense.

We are not sure if just any kind of incense works, but we know that a certain Frankincense does. This can be purchased from a little shop along Arab Street, unit number 95, called Aljunied Brothers. The incense looks like this:


From left to right: The packaging of Frankincense and what you should expect to see when you remove the cover. The rightmost picture shows joss-stick cups that can be used to burn the Frankincense in. Thereafter, the cups should be placed in another clay container which holds the cups while the incense burns. (All images are from Grace Yap)

You will also need an accompanying lamp container which you can use to burn the incense in. Speak to the shopkeepers to learn and understand how to burn it in a safe and effective way, to ensure that it does not become a fire hazard. 

As most animals are sensitive to smells and scents, especially those that repulse them, the use of incense is a good and effective method to deter civets from entering your home. It also does not harm them in any way and merely acts as a repellent.

There are also other alternatives such as high frequency devices but have yet been proven to keep civets away. If you do know of any humane alternatives to keeping the civets away from your home, do let us know in the comment thread below and we can add it to this list!

We hope that we have helped you make more animal conscious decisions. Think twice before using a trap – there are other better, safer, and kinder methods that you can explore to keep your home civet-free.

Traps – still dangerous, still deadly.

We’ve discussed the dangers and consequences of trapping wild civets many a time (1, 2, and 3), and we’re doing so again today. Trapping is a problem that is still prevalent and remains a threat to our civets and other animals that make up our unique wildlife.

It is a worrying phenomenon. Click on the links above and you will see just how much physical and psychological trauma a trapped civet goes through. Imagine their fear and helplessness, which is a dire result of their inquisitiveness and sometimes, when the cage is baited, their desperation and responsibilities to feed their young.

civet mum & babies

Can you spot the mother civet and her two babies in this picture? Photo by Emmanuel Raphael.

Maternal instinct is a wonderful thing. As humans, we celebrate it. To most animals, it is a duty that determines the survival of their young. The civet is one of these animals – solitary in nature, but faithful to her young once they are born until they are mature enough to survive on their own. Many of these urban civet families nest in trees, while a handful of them live in the roof spaces of landed properties too. Cosy, warm, and safe – or so it seems.   

They don’t mean to be a nuisance when they scratch the roof floors. Nor when they play on the roof late at night. They are just being animals, and they mean the residents no harm. But – albeit understandably – many people don’t see it that way. Whatever that is on their roofs can seem to be an “invasion” of their homes, keeping them awake at night with all the noise that they make – so they think that it is only right to get rid of them. The next evening, the civets notice a strange apparatus lying a few metres in front of them.

Perhaps they sniff about it a little, they poke about it with their tiny paws. The mother civet notices a banana within it, and is glad that food has come easy tonight. She ushers her babies back into the roof spacing, and ventures into the metal opening. She takes the banana, and the door of the cage flings shut.

This startles the babies. They try, for a while, to get their mother free while she paces within it, at times trying to run through the boundaries, smashing her nose straight into the bars. Gradually the sun comes up. The babies climb up the trees to hide. Confused, they watch as their mother is taken away by some strange people. Overnight, their lives and their mother’s are no longer cosy, warm, nor safe – or so it seemed at first.

It is hard, especially when you understand both sides of the story. You see why roof spacings are so attractive to the civets. And yet, you also see why people would not like to have something mysterious living in their homes. It is only natural both sides are acting to protect their families and to ensure the best quality of living. However, is there really no compromise that can be achieved?

Trapping is a horrible thing. It causes injuries and instills fear within the animal. But on another level, it separates mothers from their babies too. Furthermore, it is not only the mother civets that end up getting trapped and taken away. Baby civets are also susceptible to traps. Sometimes, they lose their lives as a result of a faltering immunity which in turn is a result of the stress endured while in a trap.   

A family of Siglap civets. Photo by Fung Tze Kwan

A family of Siglap civets. Photo by Fung Tze Kwan

We have always encouraged, on our blog, for everyone to share their living spaces with our wild animals. Many of them will not even attack (unless provoked), and are more generous with their spaces than we are with ours. Remember that Singapore used to be, quite literally, a jungle. It was our urbanization that has driven many of our animals to extinction and to those that remain, desperation.

If anything, it is time to be gracious to these animals, to allow them the simple pleasures of their lives, to raise a family up in a safe shelter and be able to survive in this sometimes harsh, urban landscape. Let’s not use traps to take those pleasures away from them, and to learn to live in harmony with our native civets and other wildlife, even if it means tweaking our mindsets, or changing our lifestyles just so they can breathe easier.