Looking like a cross between a cat and Racoon the Civet is a long (1.4m inc tail
and 40cm at shoulder) cat like animal that is nocturnal in habit. Hunting Reptiles,
birds, rodents, insects it will also take fruit and carrion to supplement its diet.
Civets are purely terrestrial hunters and are widespread throughout the continent
of Africa. Scent from the anal glands is used as a perfume base.
Tree Civet (not illustrated) very similar in appearance but lacking dark facial mask.
This animal is the arboreal version of the Civet.
Smaller in size than the Civet (1.0m long inc tail and 20cm at shoulder) the Genet
is an arboreal hunter par excellence. Mainly nocturnal in habits it preys upon insects,
reptiles, rodents, birds and fruit . Territory is marked by strong secretions from
the anal glands. Approx 10 species are thought to be found in Africa.
If you think you might confuse this animal with the Civet you are more likely to
see a Genet in a tree and Civets are normally on the ground.
The Zorilla is a small Polecat type member of the mustelidae family. Approx 45cm
long inc tail it feeds on insects, invertebrates, small reptiles, small mammals and
ground nesting birds. As with others members of mustelidae it can produce a foul
smelling substance from glands on either side of the anus and its colours advertise
To the untrained eye this animal could be confused with the Ratel which is much larger
and lacks stripes.
Honey Badger (Ratel)
Honey badgers are fearless members of the mustelidae family that will attack animals
as large as lion. They are keen snake eaters pursuing snakes into trees and have
some immunity from snake poison. Very active in their habits digging out small rodents
from their burrows they are often followed by Jackals and Chanting Goshawks who steal
their prey as it bolts. Usually solitary.
Now here’s an interesting one! The only thing that looks anything like a Ratel is
a baby Cheetah! They are dark underneath and develop a crest of grey fur above and
may be afforded some protection because of the Ratels agressive nature of which the
larger predators are certainly well aware.