A Masked Identity Found

June 18, 2012 at 12:30 am | Posted in itchy backside | 5 Comments
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Itchyfingers were trying to look for owls at one of our forest reserves under the moonlight when Tisu Boy saw something moving among the shrub ahead. As I am always as blind as a bat, I couldn’t see a thing. Then, Tisu Boy exclaimed excited, “Civet Cat!!!!”. As best as he tried to contain his excitement by whispering, the sharp-eyed mammal obviously saw us immediately and scurried up a nearby tree like a flash. This time I could see a dark shadowy figure but it disappeared among the foliage almost instantly….

I couldn’t believe our luck! It was Itchyfingers’ first time seeing a wild Civet Cat! We seldom do night walks and the mammal is also not that common, other than a few better known spots in Singapore….we didn’t even know they can be found in the reserves we were visiting! So obviously we were worried that we would lose it in the darkness and have to wait for another chance to see one again. Technically it is not related to cats, although it’s also called the Toddy Cat due to its special liking of drinking saps from the vessels placed on palm trees. The collected saps are used to make toddy or palm sugar.

Gingerly, we moved nearer, shining our touch for any eye shine among the leaves…As a nocturnal animals, the Palm Civet has larger pupils which are very sensitive to light. After a few seconds, bingo! We spotted it!!!!

But it was way too high and well-hidden behind the leaves….We decided to wait patiently for it to move down to a clearer spot, hopefully, if it realised that Itchyfingers did not mean any harm and were of no threats to him… :p We were mindful to only occasionally shine the torch to make sure we were not losing it again.

Our patience was finally paid off! And we didn’t have to wait that long! 😀


The cute, little curious fella decided to come lower down to check out on us… :p
Look at those big round eyes! 


The Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is also known
as ‘Musang’ in rural Malay. It is one of our native mammals in Singapore


To our delight, the Palm Civet got bolder and came further down to the 
branch, giving us a full view of its long tail that is much longer than the
body…Do you know that the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR)
has the Palm Civet as its logo


Then it decided to come down to the ground again! It stayed for a few second,
turned back and gave us a last look before moving into the darkness again…

Itchyfingers were simply thrilled to be able to have a short and relatively close encounter with the Palm Civet. We decided not to track and follow him and left him alone to forage for dinner…Though we did not find any owls for the rest of the night, but the fond memories of seeing the masked resident in our forest left us smiling till today….

Also see related posts:
> Night at the Cemetery
> The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research
> Under the Moonlight 


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5 Comments »

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  1. Very nice account of your encounter with the common palm civet! We are collecting mammal sightings in Singapore, could you please submit your record here – http://mammal.sivasothi.com/. The sighting record will be helpful for research work!
    Also, we have a civet blog that highlights any civet sightings in Singapore. Here is the civet blog weblink – http://blog.nus.edu.sg/singaporecivet/. Do let me know if you are interested in contributing some photos for a post there? I can help you put up a post! 🙂

    Thank you!

    Weiting

  2. Such an interesting blog post you have on the common palm civet! We are currently collecting mammal records in Singapore and would show to have your sighting record of the common palm civet. The weblink for this form is http://mammal.sivasothi.com/, your data will be very useful for any student researchers!

    Also, could I use your photos to highlight your blog in the “Life of a common palm civet in Singapore” blog? If you wish to take a look, it is http://blog.nus.edu.sg/singaporecivet/. Please let me know if that is alright! 🙂

    Thanks Itchyfingers and hope to hear from you soon!

    • Hi Weiting,

      Thanks for dropping by Itchyfingers. Actually I think we heard about this on-going project but didn’t think about submitting the sighting at that time. How would you want to go about doing this?

  3. I love your pictures of wildlife! I borrowed a picture you took of the white-bellied sea eagle for a personal blog, if you don’t mind. This is your original entry: https://myitchyfingers.wordpress.com/2010/06/ and this is where your picture appears in mine: http://portiainn.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/blue-hand-wavespell-june-24th-to-july-6th-2012-day-one-part-ii/. Thank you!

    • Hello, thanks for letting us know the pic is used.


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