Owston's Civet, Owston's Palm Civet

(Chrotogale owstoni)


Owston's Civet, Owston's Palm Civet IUCN VULNERABLE (VU)


Facts about this animal

Chrotogale owstoni is one of the smaller civets, resembling in form and pattern Hemigalus derbyanus.


The head-body length ranges from 51 to 64 cm, tail length from 36 to 55 cm, body weight 2.0 - 3.5 kg. The body and base of tail have alternating and sharply contrasting dark and light transverse bands, and longitudinal stripes are present on the neck. There are black spots on the sides of the neck, the forelimbs and thighs, and the flanks. The underparts are pale-buffy, and a narrow orange midventral line runs from the chest to the inguinal region. The terminal two-thirds of the tail are completely black. The males have an external scent gland between the testicles and the penis, and the females' horseshoe-shaped external scent gland is located around the vulva.


Owston's civets are nocturnal. Though excellent climbers they are mostly ground-dwelling, foraging through leaf litter looking for invertebrates. They mark their territory with their scent glands and urine. After a pregnancy period of 75-90 days 1 to 3 infants are born. Birth weights of 80-135 g have been recorded. The young are weaned at an age of 12-18 weeks.


Owston's civets feed primarily on insects and other invertebrates and take also fruit and other plant matter. Their delicate teeth are not suitable for killing and masticating vertebrate animals.


Did you know?
That the Owston's civet is threatened by the combined effects of illegal hunting and a significant reduction in natural habitat across its range? Indeed the Owston's civet is highly sought for its alleged traditional medicinal properties and its meat.


Name (Scientific) Chrotogale owstoni
Name (English) Owston's Civet, Owston's Palm Civet
Name (French) Civette d'Owston, Civette palmiste d'Owston
Name (German) Fleckenroller
Name (Spanish) Civeta de palmeras de Owston
Local names Vietnamese: Cay van
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Alexei Abramov



Range China, Laos, Viet Nam
Habitat Densely vegetated habitats near water sources in both primary and secondary forests
Wild population Unknown, but decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 9 reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Owston's Civet, Owston's Palm Civet


How this animal should be transported

Animals are best trapped within their nest box to reduce stress from being chased around te enclosure. Transport crates must have sufficient ventilation holes or fine mesh grill to allow adequate airflow, but no aperture should be large enough to allow noses or paws to protrude out. The crate should be sufficiently large to allow the animal to turn around easily, but small enough for the animal to feel secure.


For air transport, Container Note 78 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Alexei Abramov

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Owston's palm civet is threatened all over its range by illegal trade for meat and traditional medicine. Therefore, a breeding and research facility was established in 1995 at Cuc Phuong National Park. In December 2004, the first six Owston's civets have been sent to zoos in the United Kingdom as breeding loans. The zoos involved support the conservation activities in Viet Nam financially and logistically, and use their animals to raise awareness both nationally and internationally on the plight and conservation of small carnivores.