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Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel

The answer to this week’s Tanda Tula #trackitthursday challenge is… the African civet!

An African civet walks alongside the Timbavati fence-line © Janine Mare

The African civet is a member of the Viverridae family, which include genets, civets and linsangs. They are not members of the feline family, which some people are led to believe. They have a short, dense coat that is greyish in colour with black spots and have a grey face with a black band around their eyes, making their appearance racoon-like. They are the largest species of civet, reaching heights of 71cm and weighing up to 4.5kg.

These nocturnal mammals spend most of the daytime sleeping and resting in the trees, safely off the ground away from predators, which include large cats, crocodiles and snakes. They are quiet, solitary animals, however in mating season they can gather in groups of up to 15 members. The African civet usually gives birth to 4 young and nests in an underground burrow in order to raise her young safely. Civet babies are quite unusual in the fact that they are born with fur and are quite mobile from a young age. They stay with their mothers until they are old enough and strong enough to fend for themselves.

You can find the African civet in various habitats in Africa. They are most commonly found in tropical forests and areas where there is plenty of dense vegetation to provide cover as well as animals that the African civet feeds on. They are rarely found in arid areas and need to be close to a water source. They are very good swimmers and can often be found along riverbeds.

Tanda Tula

Located in the Timbavati Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park. Tanda Tula Safari Camp features 12 luxury tents nestled in riverine forest overlooking a riverbed while the Tanda Tula Field Camp is an exclusive use 4 tented walking safari camp, modelled on the early explorer camps with modern comfort. The Tanda Tula camps are owner-managed.