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African civet at night, Tsavo, Kenya

Looking rather like a raccoon, the African civet is predominantly solitary and nocturnal, so sightings are quite rare. Commonly but erroneously referred to as a civet ‘cat’, civets are viverrids, a family which includes mongooses & genets. Scent glands beneath the tail produce a very pungent secretion called civetone which was used as a fixative for expensive floral-based perfumes until chemical substitutes were found. Captive civets are still farmed in some countries and “milked” for this musk

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