Polk County Conservation

Civet Cats

  • I see in your upcoming talk about Mammals of Iowa that you've listed the civet cat as one of the mammals. This has been a long running debate between my father and a friend of my brother's as to a civet cat's true existence. You've proven my dad correct. But, what exactly is a civet cat? I've not really ever figured that out. Thanks for the information.

    People once referred to spotted skunks as civet cats. Spotted skunks are smaller and faster than the more common striped skunk and weigh around 2 pounds. They can climb trees to escape a predator or look for food. Spotted skunks feed mainly on small mammals, but also eat grubs and other insects, as well as corn, grapes, and mulberries. All skunks are highly developed for defense and can spray their foul-smelling musk distances of up to 15 feet. Besides its overpowering odor, the musk can burn the eyes and cause momentary loss of vision. The spotted skunk is uncommon and is considered an endangered species in Iowa. There is a mammal called a civet that lives in Africa and the East Indies. The civet is a little animal, with a catlike body, long legs, a long tail, and a masked face resembling a raccoon or weasel. This animal is distantly related to the common domestic cat, but the civet "cat" is not a cat. Indeed, it is more related to the mongoose than to any cat.

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    12130 NW 128th St
    Granger, IA 50109

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