Masked palm civet

The Masked Palm Civet, also known as the Himalayan Palm Civet, is a small mammal found in the Himalayan foothills of South and Southeast Asia, including Nepal, Bhutan, India, and China. It is a member of the Viverridae family and is closely related to other civet and mongoose species.

The Masked Palm Civet has a long, slender body, short legs, and a pointed snout. Its fur is grayish-brown with black spots, and it has a distinct black and white mask-like marking around its eyes. It is a nocturnal animal and feeds on a variety of prey, including insects, small mammals, and fruits.

In this article, we shall understand more about the masked palm civet. 

Serial No.CharacteristicsDescription
1Common NameMask Palm Civet
2Scientific NamePaguma larvata
3Length45 to 60 centimetres (including tail)
4ColourGreyish-brown with black mask-like markings on the face
5Height/GirthHeight: up to 25 centimetres
6Tail Length (if mammal)Tail length: up to 35 centimetres
7Height till Shoulder (if mammal)N/A
8Average Weight2 to 5 kilograms
9Food HabitsOmnivorous, feeding on fruits, insects, small animals, and carrion
10HabitatFound in forests and agricultural areas in Southeast Asia, including India, China, Vietnam, and Malaysia
11Interesting FactsMask Palm Civets are nocturnal and are known for their distinctive musky odor. They are also capable of climbing trees and have partially retractable claws.


The masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) is a small carnivorous mammal that belongs to the Viverridae family. It is also known as the Himalayan palm civet or gem-faced civet and is native to Southeast Asia, including parts of China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Both male and female masked palm civets have a distinctive black mask-like pattern around their eyes, which gives them their name. They have a grayish-brown or reddish-brown fur on their body, with darker stripes running down their back and sides. They have a long, slender body, short legs, and a long, bushy tail.

Adult masked palm civets typically weigh between 1.5 to 4.5 kg, with males being slightly larger than females. They are nocturnal animals and are primarily arboreal, spending most of their time in trees.

One special characteristic of the masked palm civet is their ability to emit a strong, musky odour from their anal glands when threatened or under stress. This scent is used as a defence mechanism against predators and can be quite pungent.

Food Habits

As for their food habits, the masked palm civet is primarily insectivorous, feeding on a variety of insects, including beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. They may also consume small vertebrates, such as lizards, small birds, and rodents. In addition to insects, they may also eat fruits, berries, and other plant material when available.


The masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) is found in various countries of Southeast Asia, including China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. In India, they are found in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.

The masked palm civet inhabits a variety of forested habitats, including tropical and subtropical forests, bamboo forests, and montane forests. They are primarily arboreal, spending most of their time in trees, but may also come down to the ground to forage for food or travel between trees.

Vulnerable Species

The masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, which means that it is not considered to be globally threatened with extinction at the present time. However, local populations of the masked palm civet in India and other parts of Southeast Asia may be threatened by habitat loss and hunting.

In India, the masked palm civet is protected under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which prohibits hunting, trapping, or killing of the species. Despite this legal protection, habitat loss due to deforestation and human encroachment remains a significant threat to the species in India.

Protected Areas

The masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) is found in various protected areas and national parks in India, particularly in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. Some of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in these states where the masked palm civet may be found include: Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, Manas National Park in Assam ,Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram and Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur.


To conserve Indian Civet cats, a number of conservation efforts are being undertaken. Some of these include:

Protection of habitat: The Indian Civet relies on a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and urban areas. Protecting and restoring these habitats is important to maintain viable populations of the species.

Law enforcement: Hunting and trade of the Indian Civet is illegal in many countries, but illegal trade still persists. Effective law enforcement is necessary to curb illegal hunting and trade and to protect the species.

Awareness and education: Raising public awareness about the importance of conserving the Indian Civet and its role in maintaining ecological balance is important to reduce demand for hunting and the pet trade.

Research: Research on the Indian Civet’s ecology, population status, and threats can help guide conservation efforts and improve our understanding of the species.

Captive breeding and reintroduction: Captive breeding and reintroduction programs can help increase the population of the species in the wild, but these efforts need to be carefully planned and monitored to ensure success.

Overall, a multi-faceted approach is needed to conserve Indian Civet cats and to ensure their survival for future generations.

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