The African civets [Civettictis civetta] are bulky, long-haired, cat-like Viverrid found in the woodlands and savannahs of Uganda’s national parks. They are rarely seen and this is because of their nocturnal habits.


The name “Civet” comes from an aromatic substance that has a musk-like odor which is called Civet. In Uganda, African civets are known to inhabit national parks and protected areas such as Murchison Falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park  and Kibale National.

Habitat and Distribution;

Physical characteristics;

  • African civets have short, dense fur that is a greyish color, with black spots arranged in rows along their body.
  • They have cat-appearance with an arched back and have irregular black blobs and stripes all over their body.

Diet of African Civets;

  • Their diet consists of a variety of foods, including small mammals, birds, insects, fruits and carrion.
  • They are also known to consume eggs and have been observed feeding on agricultural crops in some regions.

Behavior of African  Civets;

  • They are primarily nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active during the night and can be seen during night game drives. They can be seen during day on cloudy days or early morning.
  • They are solitary, except when breeding. Breeding occurs in the months of March – October and its around this time that you can find them in groups of 10-15 members.
  • They are territorial, therefore they mark their boundaries using the scent that is released by the perineal gland inside them.

Reproduction and lifespan;

  • They have a lifespan of 15-20 years and they are sexually mature at 1 year.
  • The mothers give birth to their liters from burrow after a gestation period of 8-10 weeks. The mother nurses her young ones until they are grown enough to defend them selves.

Conservation status;

  • In Uganda, African civets are protected under Uganda national wildlife conservation laws. However, like many wildlife species, they face threats from poaching for their fur and musk glands.
  • Conversation efforts in Uganda aim to protect the habitats of African civets and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts to ensure their long term survival.

For more information about African civets and African wildlife, visit Inspire African Safari

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