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Civets
African civet (Civettictis civetta)
African civet (Civettictis civetta)
Scientific classificationEdit this classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Genera included
Genera excluded
(These carnivorans are not considered civets)

A civet (/ˈsɪvɪt/) is a small, lean, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different species, mostly from the family Viverridae. Most of the species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The best-known species is the African civet, Civettictis civetta,[1] which historically has been the main species from which a musky scent used in perfumery, also referred to as "civet", was obtained.

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Viverridae

Viverridae

Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized, feliform mammals. The viverrids comprise 33 species placed in 14 genera. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Viverrids occur all over Africa, southern Europe, and South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.

African civet

African civet

The African civet is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry.

Musk

Musk

Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. Musk was a name originally given to a substance with a strong odor obtained from a gland of the musk deer. The substance has been used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times and is one of the most expensive animal products in the world. The name originates from the Late Greek μόσχος 'moskhos', from Persian 'mushk', similar to Sanskrit मुष्क muṣka ("testicle"), derived from Proto-Indo-European noun múh₂s meaning "mouse". The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. It is applied to various plants and animals of similar smell and has come to encompass a wide variety of aromatic substances with similar odors, despite their often differing chemical structures and molecular shapes.

Civet (perfumery)

Civet (perfumery)

Civet, also known as civet musk and civet oil, is the glandular secretion produced by both sexes of Viverridae species.

Naming

The common name is used for a variety of carnivoran mammal species, mostly of the family Viverridae. The African palm civet (Nandinia binotata) is genetically distinct and belongs in its own monotypic family, Nandiniidae.

The Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana) belongs to a separate family Eupleridae, with other carnivorans of Madagascar. The Malagasy civet was to be placed in the subfamily Hemigalinae with the banded palm civets and then in its own subfamily, Fossinae, because of similarities with others in the group pointed out by Gregory, but it is now classified as a member of the subfamily Euplerinae, after Pocock pointed out more similarities with that one.[2]

Civets are also called "toddycats" in English, "Mara Patti" in Malayalam, "musang" in Malay and Indonesian, and urulǣvā (උරුලෑවා) in Sinhalese. There can be confusion among speakers of Malay because the indigenous word "musang" has been mistakenly applied to foxes by printed media instead of "rubah", which is the correct but lesser-known term.

A minority of writers use "civet" to refer only to Civettictis, Viverra and Viverricula civets.[3] But in more common usage in English, the name also covers Chrotogale, Cynogale, Diplogale, Hemigalus, Arctogalidia, Macrogalidia, Paguma and Paradoxurus civets.

South Asia

In Sri Lanka, the Asian palm civet species is known as "uguduwa" by the Sinhala-speaking community. The terms uguduwa and kalawedda are used interchangeably by the Sri Lankan community to refer to the same animal. However, the term kalawedda is mostly used to refer to another species in the civet family, the small Indian civet.

Sri Lanka also has an endemic civet species called golden palm civet. Recently this species was split into 3 separate endemic species as Paradoxurus montanus, P. aureus, and P. stenocephalus. In Bangladesh and Bengali-speaking areas of India, civets are known as "khatash" (Bengali: খাটাশ) for the smaller species and "bagdash" (Bengali: বাগডাশ) for the larger ones and is now extremely rare in Bangladesh (in the Khulna area of the country, the animal is also known as "shairel"). In Assamese this animal is known as "zohamola" (Assamese: জহামলা) which literally means "to have zoha aromatic feces". In Maharashtra Marathi-speaking areas of India, civets are known as "Udmanjar" (Marathi: उदमांजर).

In Kerala, the Malayalam speaking areas of India, the small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) is called "veruk" (വെരുക്‌). Interestingly, 'veruku' (வெருகு) in Tamil meant 'cat', particularly during the Sangam period (~ 100 BCE to 400 CE).

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Carnivora

Carnivora

Carnivora is a monophyletic order of placental mammals consisting of the most recent common ancestor of all cat-like and dog-like animals, and all descendants of that ancestor. Members of this group are formally referred to as carnivorans, and have evolved to specialize in eating flesh. The order is the fifth largest order of mammals, comprising at least 279 species.

Family (biology)

Family (biology)

Family is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy. It is classified between order and genus. A family may be divided into subfamilies, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. The official family names are Latin in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example, walnut trees and hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae, but that family is commonly referred to as the "walnut family".

African palm civet

African palm civet

The African palm civet, also known as the two-spotted palm civet, is a small feliform mammal widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Malagasy civet

Malagasy civet

The Malagasy or striped civet, also known as the fanaloka or jabady, is an euplerid endemic to Madagascar. It is the only species in genus Fossa.

Eupleridae

Eupleridae

Eupleridae is a family of carnivorans endemic to Madagascar and comprising 10 known living species in seven genera, commonly known as euplerids, Malagasy mongooses or Malagasy carnivorans. The best known species is the fossa, in the subfamily Euplerinae. All species of Euplerinae were formerly classified as viverrids, while all species in the subfamily Galidiinae were classified as herpestids.

Hemigalinae

Hemigalinae

The Hemigalinae are a subfamily of the viverrids denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864. Hemigalinae species are native to Southeast Asia from southern China through Indochina, Malay Peninsula to Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi.

Banded palm civet

Banded palm civet

The banded palm civet, also called banded civet, is a viverrid native to Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, peninsular Thailand and the Sunda Islands of Sipura, Sumatra and Borneo. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because of its large geographic and elevation range and tolerance to some habitat disturbance.

Euplerinae

Euplerinae

Euplerinae, more commonly known as malagasy civets, is a subfamily of carnivorans that includes four species restricted to Madagascar. Together with the subfamily Galidiinae, which also only occurs on Madagascar, it forms the family Eupleridae. Members of this subfamily, which include the fossa, falanoucs and Malagasy civet, were placed in families like Felidae and Viverridae before genetic data indicated their consanguinity with other Madagascar carnivorans. Within the subfamily, the falanouc and Malagasy civet are more closely related to each other than to the fossa.

Reginald Innes Pocock

Reginald Innes Pocock

Reginald Innes Pocock F.R.S. was a British zoologist.

Indonesian language

Indonesian language

Indonesian is the official and national language of Indonesia. It is a standardized variety of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world, with over 270 million inhabitants—of which the majority speak Indonesian, which makes it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Fox

Fox

Foxes are small to medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright, triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail.

Civettictis

Civettictis

Civettictis is a genus of viverrid that contains the extant African civet (Civettictis civetta) and a recently described extinct relative from the Plio-Pleistocene of South Africa known as Civettictis braini.

Physical characteristics

Civets have a broadly cat-like general appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, rather like that of an otter, mongoose or even possibly a ferret. They range in length from about 43 to 71 cm (17 to 28 in) (excluding their long tails) and in weight from about 1.4 to 4.5 kg (3 to 10 lb).

The civet produces a musk (named civet after the animal) which is highly valued as a fragrance and stabilizing agent for perfume. Both male and female civets produce the strong-smelling secretion, which is produced by the civet's perineal glands. It is harvested by either killing the animal and removing the glands, or by scraping the secretions from the glands of a live animal. The latter is the preferred method today.

Animal rights groups, such as World Animal Protection, express concern that harvesting musk is cruel to animals. Between these ethical concerns and the availability of synthetic substitutes, the practice of raising civets for musk is dying out. Chanel, maker of the popular perfume Chanel No. 5, claims that natural civet has been replaced with a synthetic substitute since 1998.[4]

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Otter

Otter

Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic, or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the Mustelidae family, which also includes weasels, badgers, mink, and wolverines, among other animals.

Mongoose

Mongoose

A mongoose is a small terrestrial carnivorous mammal belonging to the family Herpestidae. This family is currently split into two subfamilies, the Herpestinae and the Mungotinae. The Herpestinae comprises 23 living species that are native to southern Europe, Africa and Asia, whereas the Mungotinae comprises 11 species native to Africa. The Herpestidae originated about 21.8 ± 3.6 million years ago in the Early Miocene and genetically diverged into two main genetic lineages between 19.1 and 18.5 ± 3.5 million years ago.

Ferret

Ferret

The ferret is a small, domesticated species belonging to the family Mustelidae. The ferret is most likely a domesticated form of the wild European polecat, evidenced by their interfertility. Other mustelids include the stoat, badger and mink.

Musk

Musk

Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. Musk was a name originally given to a substance with a strong odor obtained from a gland of the musk deer. The substance has been used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times and is one of the most expensive animal products in the world. The name originates from the Late Greek μόσχος 'moskhos', from Persian 'mushk', similar to Sanskrit मुष्क muṣka ("testicle"), derived from Proto-Indo-European noun múh₂s meaning "mouse". The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. It is applied to various plants and animals of similar smell and has come to encompass a wide variety of aromatic substances with similar odors, despite their often differing chemical structures and molecular shapes.

Civet (perfumery)

Civet (perfumery)

Civet, also known as civet musk and civet oil, is the glandular secretion produced by both sexes of Viverridae species.

Perineum

Perineum

The perineum in humans is the space between the anus and scrotum in the male, or between the anus and the vulva in the female. The perineum is the region of the body between the pubic symphysis and the coccyx, including the perineal body and surrounding structures. There is some variability in how the boundaries are defined. The perineal raphe is visible and pronounced to varying degrees. The perineum is an erogenous zone.

World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection, formerly The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is an international non-profit animal rights organization that has been in operation since 1981. The charity describes its vision as: A world where animal rights matter and animal cruelty has ended.

Chanel

Chanel

Chanel is a British based French luxury fashion house founded in 1910 by Coco Chanel in Paris. Chanel specializes in women's ready-to-wear, luxury goods, and accessories and licenses its name and branding to Luxottica for eyewear. Chanel is well known for its No. 5 perfume and "Chanel Suit". Chanel is credited for revolutionizing haute couture and ready-to-wear by replacing structured, corseted silhouettes with more functional garments that women still found flattering.

Chanel No. 5

Chanel No. 5

Chanel No. 5 was the first perfume launched by French couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel in 1921. The scent formula for the fragrance was compounded by French-Russian chemist and perfumer Ernest Beaux. The design of its bottle has been an important part of the product's branding. Coco Chanel was the first face of the fragrance, appearing in the advertisement published by Harper's Bazaar in 1937.

Habitat

A captured civet in India
A captured civet in India

Viverrids are native to sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, the Iberian Peninsula, southern China, South and Southeast Asia. Favoured habitats include woodland, savanna, and mountain biome. In consequence, many are faced with severe loss of habitat; several species are considered vulnerable and the otter civet is classified as endangered. Some species of civet are very rare and elusive and hardly anything is known about them, e.g., the Hose's civet, endemic to the montane forests of northern Borneo, is one of the world's least known carnivores.[5]

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Iberian Peninsula

Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula, also known as Iberia, is a peninsula in south-western Europe, defining the westernmost edge of Eurasia. It is divided between Peninsular Spain and Continental Portugal, comprising most of the region, to which a small part of Southern France, Andorra, and Gibraltar add up. With an area of approximately 583,254 square kilometres (225,196 sq mi), and a population of roughly 53 million, it is the second-largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Biome

Biome

A biome is a biogeographical unit consisting of a biological community that has formed in response to the physical environment in which they are found and a shared regional climate. Biomes may span more than one continent. Biome is a broader term than habitat and can comprise a variety of habitats.

Otter civet

Otter civet

The otter civet is a semiaquatic viverrid native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is listed as Endangered because of a serious ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 50% over the past three generations, inferred from direct habitat destruction, and indirect inferred declines due to pollutants.

Hose's palm civet

Hose's palm civet

Hose's palm civet, also known as Hose's civet, is a viverrid species endemic to the island of Borneo. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable because of an ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations and suspected to be more than 30% in the next three generations due to declines in population inferred from habitat destruction and degradation.

Borneo montane rain forests

Borneo montane rain forests

The Borneo montane rain forests are an ecoregion, of cloud forest, within the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome, of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.

Borneo

Borneo

Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.

Diet

Civets are unusual among feliforms, and carnivora in general, in that they are omnivores or even herbivores. Many species primarily eat fruit. Some also use flower nectar as a major source of energy. As human habitat has increased, civets tend to prey on livestock and smaller domesticated animals, such as fowls, ducks, rabbits, cats, etc.

Coffee

A caged civet
A caged civet

Kopi luwak (also called caphe cut chon (fox-dung coffee), in Vietnam, and kape alamid, in the Philippines) is coffee that is prepared using coffee cherries that have been eaten and partly digested by the Asian palm civet, then harvested from its fecal matter.[6][7] The civets digest the flesh of the coffee cherries but pass the pits (beans) inside, where stomach enzymes affect the beans, which adds to the coffee's prized aroma and flavor.[6] 0.5 kg (1 lb) can cost up to $600 in some parts of the world and about $100 a cup in others.[8] This demand has led to civet farms on which the civets are fed a diet composed almost exclusively of such cherries, causing them to become severely malnourished. Farm conditions are also routinely described as deplorable. Filipino and Vietnamese oversight of these farms is non-existent.[9]

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Kopi luwak

Kopi luwak

Kopi luwak, also known as civet coffee, is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet's intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected. Asian palm civets are increasingly caught in the wild and traded for this purpose.

Coffee

Coffee

Coffee is a drink prepared from roasted coffee beans. Darkly colored, bitter, and slightly acidic, coffee has a stimulating effect on humans, primarily due to its caffeine content. It is the most popular hot drink in the world.

Coffea

Coffea

Coffea is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. Coffea species are shrubs or small trees native to tropical and southern Africa and tropical Asia. The seeds of some species, called coffee beans, are used to flavor various beverages and products. The fruits, like the seeds, contain a large amount of caffeine, and have a distinct sweet taste and are often juiced. The plant ranks as one of the world's most valuable and widely traded commodity crops and is an important export product of several countries, including those in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Asian palm civet

Asian palm civet

The Asian palm civet, also called common palm civet, toddy cat and musang, is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. Since 2008, it is IUCN Red Listed as Least Concern as it accommodates to a broad range of habitats. It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining. In Indonesia, it is threatened by poaching and illegal wildlife trade; buyers use it for the increasing production of kopi luwak.

Relationship with humans

The Malay civet is found in many habitats, including forests, secondary habitats, cultivated land, and the outskirts of villages, and is highly adaptable to human disturbances, including "selective logging" (partial forest removal).[10]

African civets (Civettictis civetta) are listed as Least Concern, but in certain regions of Africa the population is declining due to hunting, direct and indirect poisoning, and an increase in large-scale farm fences that limit population flow. They are also seen as comparatively abundant options in the bushmeat trade.[11]

Himalayan palm civets sold for meat in local markets of China's Yunnan province carried the SARS virus from horseshoe bats to humans,[12] resulting in the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak.

Civets are also raised in captivity by humans for two reasons. In Asia, they are raised to process coffee beans. In Ethiopia, they are raised in captivity to collect their "civet" paste to be used in making perfume.[13][14]

Urban environments

Palm civets often venture into cities and suburbs, with people often complaining about civet faeces and the noise of the animals' climbing on roofs. Some studies have been undertaken to examine and mitigate such human–animal conflict.[15]

Literature

in As You Like It, Act II scene 2, (William Shakespeare, 1599) the civet cat is mentioned as the "uncleanly" source of courtiers' perfumes.

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Bushmeat

Bushmeat

Bushmeat is meat from wildlife species that are hunted for human consumption, most often referring to the meat of game in Africa. Bushmeat represents a primary source of animal protein and a cash-earning commodity for inhabitants of humid tropical forest regions in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Bushmeat is an important food resource for poor people, particularly in rural areas.

SARS

SARS

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, the first identified strain of the SARS coronavirus species, severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV). The first known cases occurred in November 2002, and the syndrome caused the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak. In the 2010s, Chinese scientists traced the virus through the intermediary of Asian palm civets to cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Xiyang Yi Ethnic Township, Yunnan.

2002–2004 SARS outbreak

2002–2004 SARS outbreak

The 2002–2004 outbreak of SARS, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, infected over 8,000 people from 29 countries and territories, and resulted in at least 774 deaths worldwide.

Urban area

Urban area

An urban area, built-up area or urban agglomeration is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as cities, towns, conurbations or suburbs. In urbanism, the term contrasts to rural areas such as villages and hamlets; in urban sociology or urban anthropology it contrasts with natural environment. The creation of earlier predecessors of urban areas during the urban revolution led to the creation of human civilization with modern urban planning, which along with other human activities such as exploitation of natural resources led to a human impact on the environment. "Agglomeration effects" are in the list of the main consequences of increased rates of firm creation since. This is due to conditions created by a greater level of industrial activity in a given region. However, a favorable environment for human capital development would also be generated simultaneously.

Suburb

Suburb

A suburb, more broadly suburban area, is an area within a metropolitan area that is primarily a residential area, though may also include commercial and mixed-use areas. A suburb can exist either as part of a larger city/urban area or as a separate political entity. The name describes an area which is not as densely populated as an inner city, yet more densely populated than a rural area in the countryside. In many metropolitan areas, suburbs exist as separate residential communities within commuting distance of a city Suburbs can have their own political or legal jurisdiction, especially in the United States, but this is not always the case, especially in the United Kingdom, where most suburbs are located within the administrative boundaries of cities. In most English-speaking countries, suburban areas are defined in contrast to central or inner city areas, but in Australian English and South African English, suburb has become largely synonymous with what is called a "neighborhood" in other countries, and the term encompasses inner city areas.

As You Like It

As You Like It

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 and first published in the First Folio in 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility.

Source: "Civet", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civet.

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References
  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Civet" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 402.
  2. ^ Anjali Goswami; Anthony Friscia (29 July 2010). Carnivoran Evolution: New Views on Phylogeny, Form and Function. Cambridge University Press. pp. 68–70. ISBN 978-1-139-48853-2.
  3. ^ Gaubert, P.; Cordeiro-Estrela, P. (2006). "Phylogenetic systematics and tempo of evolution of the Viverrinae (Mammalia, Carnivora, Viverridae) within feliformians: Implications for faunal exchanges between Asia and Africa". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 41 (2): 266–278. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.034. PMID 16837215.
  4. ^ The Straight Dope: Does civet come from tortured cats? Does kopi luwak coffee come from pre-eaten beans?
  5. ^ Mathai, J. (2010). "Hose's Civet: Borneo's mysterious carnivore". Nature Watch 18/4: 2-8.
  6. ^ a b Brewed Coffee: Civet Coffee, 30 November 2006, retrieved 25 May 2009
  7. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (17 April 2010). "From Dung to Coffee Brew With No Aftertaste". The New York Times.
  8. ^ From Civet Poop to Great Coffee, retrieved 22 July 2010
  9. ^ "The Disturbing Secret Behind the World's Most Expensive Coffee". National Geographic. 29 April 2016.
  10. ^ Jennings, A. P.; Seymour, A. S.; Dunstone, N. (2006). "Ranging behaviour, spatial organization and activity of the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga) on Buton Island, Sulawesi". Journal of Zoology. 268 (1): 63–71. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2005.00023.x.
  11. ^ Swanepoel, Lourens; Camacho, Gerrie; Power, Richard; Amiard, Pamela; Do Linh San, Emmanuel (2016). "A conservation assessment of Civettictis civetta". ResearchGate. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  12. ^ Lau, Susanna K.P.; et al. (2005). "Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-like virus in Chinese horseshoe bats". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 102 (39): 14040–14145. Bibcode:2005PNAS..10214040L. doi:10.1073/pnas.0506735102. PMC 1236580. PMID 16169905.
  13. ^ Tadesse Habtamu Tessema (2019). Civet husbandry in Ethiopia. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
  14. ^ Desta, Takele Taye (2019). "Enhanced enrichment is inevitable to carry on the legacy of African civet (Civettictis civetta) captive farming". Biodiversitas Journal of Biological Diversity. 20 (6). doi:10.13057/biodiv/d200613. S2CID 195564862.
  15. ^ "The great 'musang' stakeout". Wild Singapore. 2009.
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