Asian Common Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus): Non-Ringtails of South and Southeast Asia

by DerdriuMarriner

Asian common palm civets inhabit east, south, and southeast Asia. They like palm pulp, sap, and toddy. They make coffee, fur, meat, medicine, and perfume dealing super-successful.

Scientists accept Paradoxurus hermaphroditus as the Asian common palm civet’s Latin, scientific, taxonomic name. The terminology partly becomes them and partly not.
• Hermaphroditic cannot be considered accurate since females are feminine and males masculine.
• But scent glands clinch the misdescription’s enduring popularity since they look like male reproductive organs on females.

Paradox contrastingly communicates the essence of Asian common palm civet life cycles and natural histories.
• Super-adaptable cat-like behaviors, raccoon-like faces, and weasel-like bodies emphasize front and side views of Asian common palm civet physiques despite super-successful money-making endeavors involving what is least visible.

Importers expand the ubiquitous civet’s bio-geography for features which ultimately may threaten sustainability:
• Attractive pelts;
• Delicious meat;
• Medicinal liquids;
• Musky fragrances;
• Vacated coffee.

Asian Common Palm Civet subspecies ~ Paradoxurus pallassii: depicted "From the Life in the Zoological Society's Gardens . . . tail partly deficient."

illustration by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (February 8, 1807 – January 27, 1894)
John Edward Gray, Illustrations of Indian Zoology, Vol. II (1833-1834), Plate 8
John Edward Gray, Illustrations of Indian Zoology, Vol. II (1833-1834), Plate 8

 

Binomial (“two-name”) classification accounts for the Asian common palm civet’s genus - species taxonomy as Paradoxurus hermaphroditus. Trinomial (“three-name”) nomenclature acknowledges insular, mainland, and peninsular homeland-based subspecies. The first specimen type to be described, the nominate (“first-named”), gets the species’ name repeated. P.h. hermaphroditus inhabits India (and Pakistan), per Peter Simon Pallas (September 22, 1741 – September 8, 1811) in 1777. Other India-specific subspecies include:

  • P.h. bondar (Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest [March 6, 1784 – June 4, 1838], 1820);
  • nictitatans (Edward Burnett Taylor [October 2, 1832 – January 2, 1917], 1891);
  • pallasii of Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal (John Edward Gray [February 12, 1800 – March 7, 1875], 1832);
  • scindiae and vellerosus (Reginald Innes Pocock [March 4, 1863 – August 9, 1947], 1934). 

 

Asian Common Palm Civet's subspecies: Paradoxurus hermaphroditus quadriscriptus, described by pioneer Indologist-Nepalogist Brian Houghton Hodgson (c. February 1, 1800/1801 – May 23, 1894) as native to Nepal's Hill Region ~

illustration by Joseph Wolf (January 21, 1820 – April 20, 1899); lithographic printing by M & N Hanhart
Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: Illustrations 1848-1860, Vol. I-Mammalia, Plate XLVIII
Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: Illustrations 1848-1860, Vol. I-Mammalia, Plate XLVIII

 

Indonesia claims:

  • balicus (Henri Jacob Sody [August 31, 1892 – January 16, 1959], 1933);
  • canescens (Marcus Ward Lyon [February 5, 1875 – May 19, 1942], 1907), enganus (1916);
  • javanica (Thomas Horsfield [May 12, 1773 – July 14, 1859], 1824);
  • kangeanus (Oldfield Thomas [February 21, 1858 – June 16, 1929], 1910);
  • lignicolor, parvus, simplex (Gerrit Smith Miller [December 6, 1869 – February 24, 1956], 1913);
  • setosus (Honoré Jacquinot [August 1, 1815 - 1887] and Jacques Pucheran [June 2, 1817 – January 13, 1894], 1853).

The republic co-hosts:

  • musanga (Thomas Stamford Raffles [July 6, 1781 – July 5, 1826], 1821) with Malaysia;
  • philippinensis (Antoine Jacques Jourdan [1788 - 1859], 1837) with Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines;
  • sumbanus (Ernst Schwarz [December 1, 1889 - 1962], 1910) with East Timor. 

 

Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) range ~

Green = native; Red = introduced
Distribution data from IUCN Red List
Distribution data from IUCN Red List

 

Myanmar constitutes another of the top Asian common palm civet native lands, with:

  • milleri (Cecil Boden Kloss (March 28, 1877 – August 19, 1949), 1908);
  • pallens, pugnax, pulcher, sacer, senex (Gerrit Smith Miller [December 6, 1869 – February 24, 1956], 1913).

The republic harbors:

  • laotum (August Louis Gyldenstolpe [July 22, 1849 – June 30, 1928], 1917) with China, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam;
  • minor (John Lewis Bonhote [June 13, 1875 – October 10, 1922], 1903) with Malaysia, Thailand.

China hosts:

  • dongfangensis (Gordon Barclay Corbet [born 1933] and John Edwards Hill [June 11, 1928 - 1997], 1992);
  • exitus (Ernst Schwarz [December 1, 1889 - 1962], 1911).

Cambodia and Vietnam perpetuate cochinensis (Ernst Schwarz [December 1, 1889 - 1962], 1911). Thailand shelters canus (Miller, 1913).

 

Asian Palm Civet's marine ecosystem: Tioman Island, offshore from southeastern Peninsular Malaysia

Tioman Island (Malay language: Pulau Tioman)
Tioman Island (Malay language: Pulau Tioman)

 

Subtleties of color and dimension differentiate subspecies. Biology and taxonomy notwithstanding, they all claim elongated bodies with:

  • Brown, grey, tan, white, yellow coarse, shaggy coats black-tipped by guard-hairs;
  • Compact muscles;
  • Darkened paws;
  • Hairless soles;
  • Semi-fused third/fourth toes;
  • Short limbs;
  • 3 black-spotted rows per flank;
  • 20 semi-retractile claws.

 

 

Little heads commit to super-vigilance with:

  • Blackened, large, rounded, wide-spaced ears;
  • Camouflage-savvy faces blackened and whitened across foreheads, alongside nostrils, and under big-, dark-adapted eyes (equi-distanced from dark striping running from nasal bridge to shoulder blades);
  • Darkened, sculpted cheeks and muzzles;
  • Pointed, sharp dentition of 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, 8 molars;
  • Super-sensory vibrissae (whiskers) atypically whitened from base to tip.  

Long tails remain undecorated other than darkened tips. 

 

Subtleties of coloring differentiate Asian Palm Civet's many subspecies.

Asian palm civet
Asian palm civet

 

Appearance, bio-geography, and comportment account for individual survival and population sustainability in optimal native niches and sub-optimal native and naturalized habitats. Asian common palm civets historically choose dense-canopy, primary-growth, vine-shrouded jungles and rainforests for:

  • Avoiding predatory mammals, raptors, and reptiles;
  • Consuming berries, fruits (especially apples, bananas, chiku, coffee, figs, mangos, melons, oranges, palms, pineapples, rambutan), sap, and seeds;
  • Denning in arboreal holes and hollows or terrestrial crevices and fissures;
  • Foraging for arthropods, eggs, and small amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles;
  • Organizing amidst towering evergreens overlapping home and territorial ranges of 0.77 square miles (2 square kilometers) per female and 6.67 square miles (17+ square kilometers) per male.  

But they know when to practice adaptability, antagonism, or avoidance. 

 

Feeding the Asian Palm Civets

Uploaded to YouTube on February 28, 2012 by Jay's Animal Encounters ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKggUaqvfE8

 

Asian common palm civets center behaviors upon olfactory, tactile, and visual information-sharing. They employ vocalizations for alarm or attack. They fight bravely but rarely. They modify bio-geography and biology by:

  • Abandoning elusive, reclusive escape-artistry;
  • Redefining habitability.

They opt for:

  • Altitudes up to 7,874.02 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level;
  • Deciduous, evergreen, semi-evergreen forests of scrub vegetation, secondary growth, and selective logging;
  • Disturbed fragments near farming villages and palm-oil plantations.

 

impossibly adorable juvenile Asian Palm Civet

Kerala, Malabar coast, southwestern India
Kerala, Malabar coast, southwestern India

 

They prioritize:

  • Delivering 2 – 5 offspring bi-annually for seeing within 14 days and weaning within 90;
  • Maturing head-and-body lengths, tail lengths, and weights respectively to 16.93 – 27.95 inches (43.2 – 71 centimeters), 15.98 – 25.98 inches (40.6 – 66 centimeters), and 3 – 11 pounds (1.36 – 4.99 kilograms);
  • Surviving 5 – 20+ years. 

 

caged for Kopi Luwak production

one of the environments for the world's most expensive coffee
one of the environments for the world's most expensive coffee

Conclusion: Force-feedings and caged isolation challenge the Asian Common Palm Civet, a diminutive, bear-like ambler with an especially high value in the coffee trade

 

Savvy adjustment to real-time best describes Asian common palm civet life cycles and natural histories. It explains their surviving:

  • Beating, maiming, and slaughtering for homelessly, hungrily raiding poultry;
  • Exporting to Japan;
  • Resettling in Indonesia to suffer forced-feeding of coffee beans and forced-scraping of scent glands;
  • Trapping by agro-industrialists and over-hunters.

Diminutive Asian common palm civets indeed express courage and environmentalism while experiencing unregulated modernist - traditionalist interactions along urban - wildland interfaces. They keep on:

  • Ambling bear-like and flat-footed over land and branch-by-branch through trees;
  • Fulfilling environmentally obligate pest-controlling, seed-dispersing roles;
  • Rotating nomadically through wide-spaced series of permanent dens occupied singly except during offspring-raising.

Their stories need to be told and perpetuated through:

  • Governmental protection;
  • Scientific investigation;
  • Wildlife-loving activism. 

 

the world's most expensive coffee

Kopi Luwak
Kopi Luwak

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

Asian Palm Civet native landscapes: Siliguri, in Himalayan foothills, is surrounded by forests, which facilitate city visits by wild animals.

Siliguri links mainland India to its northeastern states via Siliguri Corridor, known locally as Chicken Neck (Bengali: চিকেন নেক), a narrow strip of land bordered northwesterly by Nepal, northeasterly by Bhutan, and southerly by Bangladesh.
Siliguri, West Bengal state, eastern India
Siliguri, West Bengal state, eastern India

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Asian Palm Civet's montane ecosystems: Temi Tea Garden, established in 1969 and converted to full organic tea estate between April 2005 to April 2008.

The tea estate is located at tourist town of Ravangla, South Sikkim district, northeast Indian State Sikkim. Distaste for tea impels Asian Palm Civet to avoid estates in their ecosystems.
"On a late afternoon at a tea garden"
"On a late afternoon at a tea garden"
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

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Asian Palm Civets in books

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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 09/04/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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