“One morning way back in July 2012, I noticed a lump of animal poop on top of the common wall with my next-door neighbour (above). As it looked uncommon, I photographed it. And as it was right next to the front gate I reluctantly removed it.
“With the image of the poop I asked around and was told that it could be that of the Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) (above).
“In February the next year I came across pieces of the shell of the Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) on the top of the common wall at the back of the garden (above). The shell pieces were dry and clean, with no traces of flesh. Obviously some creature had eaten the snail, leaving pieces of shell behind. Again, I suspected the Common Palm Civet.
“In September this year, I again noticed a small pile of snail shells at exactly the same location. The next month there was a pile of poop, also at the same location (above).
“Overcame with curiousity, I wrote to Dr Vilma D’Rozario whom I knew had Common Palm Civets living in her roof space. She had regularly seen similar shells stripped of flesh in her garden, thus confirming that there was a civet in my garden.
“This was further confirmed by Fung Tze Kwan LINK 1 and LINK 2 and Xu Weiting, both currently researching on the Common Palm Civet at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.
“As for the poop found in my garden, both researchers queried on the presence of seeds. On closer look, there was a black seed of the Chiku (Manilkara zapota). And Tze Kwan confirmed that there were many other smaller beige seeds as well as a civet hair in the poop. This confirmed that the poop was definitely left by the Common Palm Civet.
“The civet had been briefly seen one night last year in the garden but it has yet to be photographed.
“In the meantime I am keeping an eye of more poop as Tze Kwan is researching on the food the civet takes. Should anyone come across such poop in Singapore, please inform her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will arrange to collect them. Details required include date, location and close-up photo.
“In a next posting more details will be provided on how to recognise the poop, how to bag it and the detailed information to accompany the specimen. In the meantime please keep an eye of the possible presence of the Common Palm Civet and its poop in and around your area.”
YC Wee with Dr Vilma D’Rozario, Fung Tze Kwan & Xu Weiting
Note: Image of Common Palm Civet by Fung Tze Kwan, others by YC Wee.