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Our masked Asian Palm Civet

Updated on September 7, 2015

One week old baby musang

My beloved Bindi taught me so much about her kind and she was an ambassador for her kind when I took her to the local schools.
My beloved Bindi taught me so much about her kind and she was an ambassador for her kind when I took her to the local schools.

Loving a Musang named Bindi

We live on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. One day a villager brought us a 3 day old wild animal, and said it was a Palawan bearcat. They didn't know how to feed it and gave it to me to care for.

I looked up how to nurture it and gave it an infants formula day and night for the first 2 weeks. We had to get up every 2 hours to give her milk which she took from a syringe. She would not take the bottles with nipples. Anyway, after 2 weeks it began to get a racoon like mask and the villagers said it was a musang not a bearcat. A musang is also known as the Asian masked civet cat, or toddy cat. It's not really a cat at all although, like a cat, it had to be licked or wiped in order for it to pee or poo! I went the way of wiping it!

We kept her with us in our room for the first two weeks. Then it began to eliminate by itself and we then kept her in a cat carrier near us in our room at night. She wasn't very active for the first two weeks. They are born deaf and blind and it was at about 2 weeks that her eyesight came in and she would start to wander further around in our room and office, where I am most of the day and could keep an eye on her.

She began to eat fruit at this point as well. After a month she no longer wanted the milk and would get the runs when she did drink it. Now at 3 1/1 months old she eats mostly fruits and whatever insects she can catch. She also very much adores drinking coconut water which is high in minerals and vitamins and is in great abundance on our farm lot in Luzviminda.

We let her wander around the house where there is a lot of vegetation to explore, although I do keep an eye on her, she never leaves the security of the buildings.

The civets scientific name is Paradoxurus hermaphroditus of the family Viverridae. Although called a civet cat, it is not a cat nor feline and is more closely related to a weasel or mongoose. They are nocturnal and in the wild spend most of their lives in tree tops (arboreal). They are mostly solitary animals except for breeding season when they will seek a mate. Then they will again go their separate ways.

Palm civets can live in the wild up to 20 years or more, but generally live longer in captivity because sometimes, like in our village, they are caught and eaten as bush meat.

Early this year, 2014, we went to get Bindi from her enclosure. She was hugging her teddy bear to her chest with her arms wrapped around it. She never woke up. We had an autopsy performed to make sure what she had wasn't contagious, as we were brought 3 orphaned otter pups, and we had to be sure they would not be exposed to any pathogens Bindi might have had. It turns out Bindi had a defective heart. She would have died as a baby had we not taken her in. I am grateful she knew lots of love while she was with us.

I cried a river and an ocean. She was a beloved family member. I will always be grateful to Bindi for teaching me and the children she was exposed to, about her kind and how very precious they are. I will miss her all the days of my life. I am even beginning to tear up as I write this. It's making it too real. I love you Bindi, forever!

Bindi lived with us for one year and one month until she crossed the rainbow bridge.

Musang at 2 weeks old
Musang at 2 weeks old

Most famous for

creating Civet Coffee

We are raising Bindi, our masked Asian Palm civet, locally known as musang, as a pet. We cannot release her back into the wild as she is so friendly she might approach a local villager and be eaten. Yes, they do eat these wonderful creatures over here.

But Masked civets are most famous for creating the most expensive coffee in the world called Kapi Luwak, Kapi Alamid, Weasel Coffee in Vietnam and just Civet Coffee. They pick the ripest coffee cheries. The bean are excreted intact, washed, roasted and then sold to market.

The enzymes in their stomachs apparently remove any bitterness and it gives the beans a nutty flavor I am told, as I have never personally tried the coffee.

I have recently found out that they are now caging the palm civets and force feeding them the coffee, so I no longer advise people to buy civet coffee or Kape Luwak. The whole point of harvesting wild civet poop was that the wild civets eat the most ripe berries, which means the coffee beans will be the most choice! Now they cage them and feed them half ripe berries and I hear the conditions they live in is totally inhumane and cruel.

Bindi at 2 weeks old - too cute!

Masked palm civet at 2 weeks old
Masked palm civet at 2 weeks old

When Bindi was just 2 weeks old, she would sit in my lap for a long time. The palm civets do have sharp teeth like a puppy and their nails are sharp like needles. Fortunately, at this age she didn't bite hard, more like a cat playing.

Sweet Bindi the Musang in action

Palm civet at 2 months old - Loving Bindi so much

palm civet at 2 months old
palm civet at 2 months old

Bindi is now a large part of our family. During the day and until early evening she stays with me in my office and living areas. Since about 2 months old, her natural nocturnal hunting instincts kick in and her playful bites now hurt too much to play with her without gloves. She isn't being mean, just playful like a cat, and has yet learned how to control the bites she gives us.

She has a large cage we now have to put her in at night with climbing poles and such that she can run around on.

During the day I let her sit outside with me and she will play chase with a puppy we have here and doesn't go too far, but I do keep an eye on her.

Various shots of Bindi - A loving palm civet

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bindi loved children. Especially our daughter.Bindi at 11 months old. She only lived to 13 months. She had a bad heart....and she broke mine that day.Bindi just chilling watching TV.One of Bindi's favorite stuffed animals.My two babies. Our daughter and Bindi!How the children loved Bindi!Bindi made speaking engagements hard. She wouldn't stay still.Bindi hung out on this particular shelf in my office every day.
Bindi loved children. Especially our daughter.
Bindi loved children. Especially our daughter.
Bindi at 11 months old. She only lived to 13 months. She had a bad heart....and she broke mine that day.
Bindi at 11 months old. She only lived to 13 months. She had a bad heart....and she broke mine that day.
Bindi just chilling watching TV.
Bindi just chilling watching TV.
One of Bindi's favorite stuffed animals.
One of Bindi's favorite stuffed animals.
My two babies. Our daughter and Bindi!
My two babies. Our daughter and Bindi!
How the children loved Bindi!
How the children loved Bindi!
Bindi made speaking engagements hard. She wouldn't stay still.
Bindi made speaking engagements hard. She wouldn't stay still.
Bindi hung out on this particular shelf in my office every day.
Bindi hung out on this particular shelf in my office every day.

Get a good coffee maker for that expensive Coffee

Get a good French press coffee maker. I don't like electric drip coffee makers. Too much of the robust flavors are left in the liners. A good frech press lets you really steep your coffee to the strength you like, Pushing the plunger all the way to the bottom stops the brewing process. If you like it weaker, pour first and push the plunger to the next cup. Leave that coffee below the plunger to get stronger for your mate or whoever who like a stronger cup!

Another plus is the financial savings! You use a finer grind for the French press. You only need two scoops of fine grind for 3 or 4 cups of coffee. Electric coffee makers use a course grind and you wind up using and wasting a lot of good coffee flavor.

Bindi loves to play - 3 months old

She sees our 5 year old daughter mounting and riding this toy tricycle and I guess she thought she'd give it a go for herself. Look how she puts her foot on the pedal just like a person!

Ok I'm up. - Now someone give me a push!

masked civet on toy tricycle
masked civet on toy tricycle

Bindi at 3 months old.

Bindi as a teacher - To local school children

Since Bindi has come into our lives, I've heard stories of how the villager eat the palm civets which they consider pests, as sometimes they kill their chickens.

We have started to bring Bindi to the local elementary school so that the children can interact with her and learn about how important they are to our eco system.

Musang Bindi at 2 months old with her stuffed toy

Bindi ambassador of peace to local children
Bindi ambassador of peace to local children

Bindi interacting with more children

Bindi the Civet Ambassador

We brought Bindi to a government sponsored environmental affair. The children loved interacting with Bindi. Most have them had never seen a palm civet before.

That is me speaking to the children to teach them about the ways of civets. My assistant is holding Bindi on his shoulder. She never bit the children. She loved going from child to child smelling them.

Sound asleep with her favorite toy.

masked civet and her toy
masked civet and her toy

When Bindi is asleep, I can cut the sharp nails on all 4 paws. We were getting all scraped up by her needle like claws when she would walk on our shoulders or try to climb up our legs!! Then I read in a group I joined in Facebook, called Musang Lovers, that most people trim their claws when the civet pets are asleep. Duh! Why didn't I think of this myself? In Indonesia Palm civets can be pets and are walked on leashes. Some students even bring them on campus.

It is actually not legal here to own a civet in the Philippines where we live, but since we rescued her, I believe it will be ok for us to keep Bindi. Even if she would survive in the wild, we would be afraid she would approach people since she is used to human company and then she might be eaten.

Loveable Bindi

Bindi the masked Asian palm civet rescue
Bindi the masked Asian palm civet rescue

Bindi loves to climb

In the wild, they live in the treetops and sleep most of the day. At night between dusk and dawn is when they actively hunt for bugs, lizards, small birds and fruits. Fruits make up 65% of their diets.

We leave cat food out for our cats and Bindi seems to like that too. She has sort of a truce with the cats and does not really interact with them. In the wild, they are solitary creatures.

We have socialized Bindi. We have a lot of children on the farm and she likes play hide and seek. We so take her to the local elementary school lately and she does well with the children and never bites.

Another cute sleeping musang shot

musang sleeping
musang sleeping

Bindi is ever adorable. I love to play with her during the day and explore the outside with her too. But when she is sleeping I can hug her, kiss her and rub her ever so soft front foot pads and she won't take to play biting like a cat. I love to take my afternoon siestas with her beside me.

8 month old musang - Bindi

Bindi 7 month old musang-masked Asian palm civet
Bindi 7 month old musang-masked Asian palm civet

Bindi is 8 months old in this photo. At this age she plays very rough. I wouldn't recommend this animal unless you like getting chewed up a lot. Maybe she will grow out of it.....although we love her, she is high energy when she is up and into everything. If we hadn't rescued her, I would not have chosen to keep one as a pet, not to mention they are illegal to keep as pets in the Philippines.

Lately we have been letting her roam about the property with us and she has become less inclined to chew on us since perhaps she's spent a lot of her pent up energy.

Please do give me your comments on Masked Palm Civets

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      Sweetwater_Creek 4 years ago

      Good job! Thanks for caring for earth's creatures.