Common Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) are widely distributed across South and Southeast Asia. There are scattered records from Sulawesi, the Moluccas, Timor, and the Aru Islands and they may be present in Papua New Guinea. They were introduced to Japan in the late 1800s.
This is a small civet with a grayish or rusty body, brown or black spots and stripes, a dark mask, and a long tail. The head and body are 42 to 71 cm long with a tail of 33 to 66 cm; weight is 2 to 5 kg. The body size of individuals on islands, notably Borneo, is smaller than on the mainland. The head pattern is highly variable, but generally consists of a dark mask with pale patches below the eyes, on the forehead, and at the bases of the ears.
Common Palm Civets occur in a range of habitats up to 2400 m, including evergreen and deciduous forests (both primary and secondary), plantations, and around human dwellings and settlements. They are mainly frugivorous, but also eat small vertebrates and invertebrates. They are solitary, nocturnal, and largely arboreal, spending the day in trees--and sometimes in buildings. Common Palm Civets deposit their scat, the contents of which can have commercial value as the source of "civet coffee", on the ground and on tree branches.
Breeding seems to occur throughout the year, with a litter size of two to five young. In captivity, gestation is 61 to 63 days. Newborns weigh 69 to 102 g and are born with their eyes closed. They reach sexual maturity at 11 to 12 months.
Although this species is widespread and generally common, population density may be lower in secodary forest than in primary forest. Common Palm Civets are often considered pests by fruit farmers and killed. They are also trapped and traded for meat and are sometimes kept as pets and used as rat catchers (which may explain their introduction to some areas). The subspecies (sometimes considered a distinct species) on the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia may be under threat due to commercial logging.
(Jennings and Veron 2009 and references therein)
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