We live in one of the best places on the planet for observing wildlife, and can see a great number of species during the day, including several carnivores. However, there are also quite a few nocturnal, shy animals that we very rarely catch a glimpse of. Luckily, we have the camera traps to help us out!
I am always excited to check the cameras in the morning, to see who came to visit us during the night. And I am always happy to see a civet! I have only seen two civets in "real time" - when we have been out driving on a night safari. But we see civets in the camera trap at least once a week, and we think we have two resident civets here.
The African civet (Civettictis civetta) is the largest member of the Family Viverridae living in Africa. This family includes the genets, civets, and linsangs. Nocturnal carnivores with fantastic spot and stripe patterns, African civets are present throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa. They are omnivorous and opportunistic - meaning they eat lots of different things, including fruit, insects, eggs, and small mammals. Little research has been done on wild civets, but you can learn more about them in the wonderful Mammals of Africa series edited by Jonathan Kingdon and colleagues.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Here is another view of the same civet:
Welcome to my new blog - Scientist on Safari!
And what a better way to start than with a video of one of the many night visitors we have at our home in Kenya? This is a spotted hyena, the most abundant large carnivore in the Masai Mara. In fact, the spotted hyena is the most abundant large carnivore in sub-Saharan Africa. The spotted hyena is one of my favorite animals, and I spent several years studying one particularly large clan of hyenas for my doctorate. However, this particular hyena is NOT a favorite. She destroyed my last camera trap! As you can see, she is investigating my new camera.... luckily, she didn't crush this one! I'll tell you more about camera traps and hyenas in future blog posts.
Contact me if you have a question or request!