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civet

civet (sĬv´ət) or civet cat, any of a large group of mostly nocturnal mammals of the Old World family Viverridae (civet family), which also includes the mongoose. Civets are not true cats, but the civet family is related to the cat family (Felidae). Most civets have catlike bodies, long tails, and weasellike faces. Their fur may be gray or brown, and may be marked in various patterns. All civets have scent-producing glands, located in a double pouch near the genitals. The fatty yellow secretion of these glands has a distinctive musky odor used for territorial marking. Commercially, this substance is known as civet and is used as a perfume fixative. Civet can be removed from captive animals every 14 to 20 days. Some civet species are hunted for their fur. The ground-living, or true, civets form a distinctive group within the family; these animals have a highly carnivorous diet. Most have dark spots and ringed tails. They include several Asian species (genus Viverra) and one African species (Civettictis civetta). Best known is the Indian civet, V. zibetha, of S Asia, from which most of the civet for perfume is derived. It has tawny fur with black spots and black bands on the tail. It is about 30 in. (76 cm) long, excluding the 20-in. (42-cm) tail, and about 15 in. (38 cm) high at the shoulder; it weighs up to 25 lb (11 kg). Its musk glands are greatly enlarged. Some of the ground-living civets are called linsangs and genets. The palm civets form another distinct group within the civet family. These are arboreal, largely fruit-eating animals of Africa and Asia; they are classified in several genera. The North American spotted skunk is sometimes popularly called civet but is not closely related to civets. Civets are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Viverridae.

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civet

civ·et / ˈsivət/ • n. (also civet cat) 1. a slender nocturnal carnivorous mammal (Viverra and other genera) with a barred and spotted coat, native to Africa and Asia. The civet family (Viverridae) also includes the genets, linsang, and fossa, and formerly included the mongooses. ∎  a strong musky perfume obtained from the secretions of the civet's scent glands. 2. another term for cacomistle. ∎  the fur of the cacomistle.

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civet

civet Small, nocturnal, carnivorous mammal, related to the genet and mongoose, found in Africa, Asia and s Europe. It has a narrow body set on long legs, and its coat is grey-yellow with black markings. There are c.20 species. Overall length: 53–150cm (21–59in). Family Viverridae.

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civet

civet (quadruped yielding) the musky secretion called by the same name. XVI. — F. civette — It. zibetto — medL. zibethum — Arab. zabād (the secretion).
Also civet-cat XVII.

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civet

civet See VIVERRIDAE.

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civet

civet •davit • brevet • velvet • affidavit •civet, privet, rivet, trivet •private • covet • aquavit • banquet •halfwit • peewit • dimwit • nitwit •exquisite, visit •requisite • perquisite •closet, posit •apposite • opposite • composite

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