Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civet is a large part of the general mammal harvest for eating for subsistence, and luxury restaurants in South-East Asia.

Common palm civet is a large part of the general mammal harvest for eating in South-East Asia, both for subsistence but also for trade to urban luxury restaurants. Asian palm civet is hunted, often a part of general take, using non-selective methods, for wild meat in some parts of its range, such as southern China, parts of North-East India, especially in Nagaland and hilly areas of Manipur, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Thailand, and probably throughout northern South-East Asia and widely elsewhere in its range.

Dead individuals of this species were found with local tribes during a visit to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and Agra, Uttar Pradesh in India between 1998 and 2003, where it is killed for its meat. Hunting in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, India, has apparently much declined and this is probably typical for India excepting the North-East.

Sources: (Duckworth, et al., 2011; Gupta, 2004; Kalle, Ramesh, Sankar, & Qureshi, 2013; Lau, Fellowes, & Chan, 2010; Nijman, et al., 2014; Shepherd, 2012)
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Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets are kept in captivity in Java and the Philippines as pets, coffee producers, and rodent catchers.

Common palm civets are increasingly sold in Java and, to a lesser extent, in the Philippines, markets for the pet trade.

They are kept as pets and kept captive for the production of civet coffee, especially in Indonesia. People also use civets as rodent catchers, since they eat rats and mice.

Sources: (Duckworth, et al., 2011; Nelson, 2013; Nijman, et al., 2014; Nowak, 1999; Shepherd, 2012;)
Image: Stéphane DAMOUR

Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets digest coffee cherries that are then used to produce the world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak, selling for over $100 a pound.

Common palm civets are best known for aiding in the production of an expensive coffee, Kopi luwak, by passing coffee cherries through their digestive tract. As the cherries go through palm civets digestive tracts, they get a unique “gamy” flavor and people extract these pits from the civet feces.

This coffee is in high demand because of civets tendencies to only pick the ripest coffee cherries. Kopi luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for over one hundred dollars a pound.

There has been a recent great increase in numbers of Asian palm civets kept captive for the production of civet coffee, especially in Indonesia and, to a lesser extent, in the Pilippines.

Sources: (Duckworth, et al., 2011; Nelson, 2013; Nijman, et al., 2014; Nowak, 1999; Shepherd, 2012)
Image: maddalena monge

Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets can be distinguished from other civets from a lack of black rings on the tail, backwards growing hair on the neck, and weaker teeth.

Unlike other civets, common palm civets tails do not have black rings. Rather, they are just tipped black on the very end. Another distinguishing factor is that their neck hair grows backwards, whereas other members of the civet family have forward growing neck hair.

Palm civets have more specialized teeth for an omnivorous diet than other civets that mostly eat meat. Asian palm civets have teeth that are weaker and pointed, and the carnassials, that are apt for slicing meat, are less developed.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Wemmer & Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: Me and my tripod

Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets rarely communicate vocally, but can meow, snarl, hiss, moan, whine, cough, call, and spit when agitated.

Common palm civets rarely communicate vocally other than when they are agitated or being attacked.

Civets are typically silent, but can make a noise that sounds similar to meows. They also snarl, hiss, moan, whine, cough, call, and spit when they are alarmed or harassed.

Sources: (Duckworth, 1997; Nelson, 2013; Rozhnov & Rozhnov, 2003)
Image: Magalhães

Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets have weaker, less developed teeth for an omnivorous diet than other civets that mostly eat meat.

Palm civets have more specialized teeth for an omnivorous diet than other civets that mostly eat meat. Common palm civets have teeth that are weaker and pointed, and the carnassials, that are apt for slicing meat, are less developed.

The nose of the Asian palm civet is pointed and protrudes from its small face. They have faces mostly like cats, but palm civets have longer and flatter skulls. Relative to their head, palm civets have large dark eyes and large pointed ears

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Wemmer & Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: Gervais, Paul

Common Palm Civet

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The common palm civet’s favorite trees to feed from are fig trees and palm tress, hence the origin of the name “palm civet”.

Common palm civets climb fruit trees to get their food. Their favorite trees to feed from are fig trees and palm trees, hence the origin of one of its common names, the palm civet. They are particularly fond of chiku, mangoes, bananas, rambutan, pineapples, melons, and papayas.

Palm civets are noted for their ability to pick the best and ripest fruit, leaving the others for later.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Duckworth, et al., 2011; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Spaan, Williams, Wirdateti, Semiadi, & Nekaris, 2014; Wemmer and Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: YaZzZz…

Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets are omnivorous and will eat whatever is available, but are mostly frugivorous, preferring berries and pulpy fruits.

Common palm civets are sometimes compared to raccoons from North America, in that they fill a similar niche. They are opportunistic and adaptable, eating whatever is available; however, they are mostly frugivorous, preferring berries and pulpy fruits over anything else.

Palm civets of Java are said to feed on over 35 different species of trees, shrubs, and creepers. Their favorite trees to feed from are fig trees and palm trees. They are particularly fond of chiku, mangoes, bananas, rambutan, pineapples, melons, and papayas.

Other than fruits, Asian palm civet are very fond of the sap from the flowers of sugar palm trees (Arenga pinnata) that are found throughout their natural range. They also drink the nectar of silk cotton trees (Ceiba petandra) and the stems of the apocynaceae tree.

Since Asian palm civets are foragers, they are frequently found in urban gardens, plantations, and orchards looking for food. In addition to their normal diet of fruit, civets also eat rats, shrews, mice, birds, insects, worms, seeds, eggs, reptiles, snails, scorpions, coffee, insects, molluscs, and more.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Duckworth, et al., 2011; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Spaan, Williams, Wirdateti, Semiadi, & Nekaris, 2014; Wemmer and Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: Stefan Magdalinski

Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets secrete self-identifying odors and rely on olfactory responses to communicate, instead of using vocalizations.

Common palm civets generally rely on scent-markings and olfactory responses to communicate, instead of using vocalizations. Scent glands are used as their primary means of communication.

Asian palm civets are able to secrete self-identifying odors from their perineal gland, urine, feces, and skin glands. They mark their ranges by dragging their anal glands on the ground and predominately mark substrates by dragging their perineal gland on top of them. Scents left from the dragging the perineal gland remain in the environment longer than any other scent Asian palm civets produce and are used as a long-term source of information about that animal. They also rub their ear-neck region and heels.

Males mark objects with their scent a lot more frequently than females of the species. This is probably because males are more territorial and dominant than females.

Asian palm civets also find mates using scent markings from their anal glands, indicating each civet’s age, sex, receptivity, kin relationship, and if they are familiar.

Sources: (Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Nowak, 1999; Rozhnov & Rozhnov, 2003)
Image: Mark Louis Benedict

Common Palm Civet

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The common palm civet is Least Concern because of a wide distribution, large population, broad range, and resistances to threats.

The common palm civet is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it has a wide distribution, large populations, uses a broad range of habitats and is tolerant of extensive habitat degradation and change, and is evidently resilient to ‘background’ hunting levels. These attributes mean that it is unlikely to be declining at the rate required to qualify for listing even as Near Threatened.

With a recent upsurge in off-take over a significant part of its range, this categorisation warrants review when better data on the effects of this off-take become available.

Sources: (Duckworth, et al., 2011; Nelson, 2013)
Image: Praveenp

Common Palm Civet

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A common palm civet can be recognized by the dark stripes on its back and the three rows of black spots freckled on each side of its body and legs.

The coat of common palm civets are short, coarse, and are usually black or gray with black-tipped guard hairs all over. Like racoons, palm civets faces are banded and have a white patch of fur below and above the eyes and on each side of the nose. They can be recognized by the dark stripes down their back and the three rows of black spots freckled on each side of their body and covering their legs.

However, these markings are less prominent in juveniles.

Unlike other civets, Asian palm civets tails do not have black rings. Rather, they are just tipped black on the very end. Another distinguishing factor is that their neck hair grows backwards, whereas other members of the civet family have forward growing neck hair.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Wemmer & Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: BernieCB

Common Palm Civet

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Many subspecies of the common palm civet have been described, but there is debate over the taxonomic status of them.

Many subspecies of the common palm civet have been described, notably the taxon lignicolor, endemic to the Mentawai islands. This has a debated taxonomic status, being sometimes considered a separate species or a subspecies of Paradoxurus hermaphroditus.

It has been proposed that P. hermaphroditus contains at least three species: P. hermaphroditus (sensu stricto) (South Asia, southern China and non-Sundaic South-east Asia), P. musanga (mainland South-east Asia, Sumatra, Java and other small Indonesian islands) and P. philippinensis (the Mentawai Islands, Borneo and the Philippines). It is suspected that in the region of overlap between P. hermaphroditus (sensu stricto) and P. musanga they would be found to be separated by altitude. The morphological distinctiveness of the Mentawai taxon was confirmed; although placed as a subspecies within P. musanga, it was cautioned that further investigation might find species rank more appropriate; genetic data do not, as so far looked at, support species status.

Sources: (Corbet & Hill, 1992; Duckworth, et al., 2011; Patou, et al., 2010; Schreiber, Wirth, Riffel, & Van Rompaey, 1989; Veron, Patou, Toth, Goonatilake, & Jennings, 2015; Wozencraft, 2005)
Image: Martin Lissmyr

Common Palm Civet

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Common palm civets are not considered to be in danger of extinction, but are protected under law in their native areas of Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, and China.

The common palm civet is found within many protected areas across its range, such as in Lao, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, China, North-East India, and Java.

Common palm civets are not considered to be in danger of extinction, but are protected under law in their native areas of Malaysia, Myanmar, and Sichuan, China. They are also protected in India under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 2004 and in Bangladesh under the Wildlife Act of 2012. They are not protected in Thailand.

Although he common palm civet is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, they are listed as vulnerable under China’s red list for excessive hunting. This species is listed on CITES Appendix III (India).

Sources: (Duckworth, 1997; Duckworth, et al., 2011; Nelson, 2013)
Image: Richard Wasserman

Common Palm Civet

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Male common palm civets are more territorial and dominant than females and mark objects more frequently.

Male common palm civets mark objects with their scent a lot more frequently than females of the species. This is probably because males are more territorial and dominant than females.

Sources: (Nelson, 2013; Rozhnov & Rozhnov, 2003)
Image: McKay Savage

Happy new year, everyone! The end-of-the-year holiday season has come to a close, also bringing the conclusion of the first annual FaunaFocus Holiday Art Trade!

A total of 19 participants joined in spreading holiday cheer, each creating an artwork that featured an animal species requested by another participant. Throughout the month’s of November and December, participants were surprised with beautiful artworks complimenting their favorite animals. With a variety of different media, technique, style, and color, each piece offered a unique experience, and it was a pleasure to view all of the completed submissions!

Thank you to everyone who participated! We appreciate all of the completed artworks and hope that each of you enjoy the artwork you personally received.

We look forward to hosting Holiday Art Trade 2018 at the end of this year, so make sure to sign up for that event when the time comes, if you are interested.

Common Palm Civet

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Over-logging and clearing of land for palm oil plantations threatens the common palm civet’s habitat.

The common palm civet is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it has a wide distribution, large populations, uses a broad range of habitats and is tolerant of extensive habitat degradation and change, and is evidently resilient to ‘background’ hunting levels. These attributes mean that it is unlikely to be declining at the rate required to qualify for listing even as Near Threatened.

With a recent upsurge in off-take over a significant part of its range, this categorisation warrants review when better data on the effects of this off-take become available.

Even though palm civets are not currently in danger, their habitats are getting increasingly smaller due to over-logging and clearing of land for palm oil plantations. Some governments have started monitoring the rate of logging and requiring developers to get permits or licenses to do so. There has also been an effort to replant some of the lost forests.

Sources: (Duckworth, et al., 2011; Nelson, 2013)
Image: Sofig (Sophie Grail)

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Common palm civets enjoy the sap from sugar palm trees that’s used to make a sweet liquor called “toddy,” hence the civet’s nickname, “toddy cat”.

Other than fruits, common palm civets are very fond of the sap from the flowers of sugar palm trees (Arenga pinnata) that are found throughout their natural range. This sap has been used by the indigenous people of the areas to make sweet liquor by fermenting the sugar sap, which is called “toddy”, giving the common palm civet its other common name, the toddy cat.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Duckworth, et al., 2011; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Wemmer and Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: Dhruvaraj S

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The common palm civet has a tail that is almost as long as its head and body combined.

Common palm civets are small, weighing only about three kilograms with an average body length of 50 centimeters, and a tail that is 48 centimeters long. They have elongated bodies with short legs, and a tail that is almost as long as their head and body combined.

Unlike other civets, Asian palm civets tails do not have black rings. Rather, they are just tipped black on the very end.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Wemmer & Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: Lynn Chan

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Common palm civets have plantigrade feet, naked soles, semi-retractile claws, and partly fused toes that make them excellent climbers.

Having plantigrade feet, common palm civets walk like bears and racoons, with their entire sole on the ground. They have naked soles, their claws are semi-retractile, and their third and fourth toes are partly fused. All these features make them excellent climbers and help them as they hunt.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013; Wemmer & Murtaugh, 1981)
Image: Jordy Meow

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Common palm civets are known by many names based on the region in which they are found.

Common palm civets are known by many names, such as “Asian palm civets”, “toddy cats”, “musang”, “weasel cats,” “luwak,” and several others.

Their name varies based on behavior of civets and the region in which they are found.

Sources: (Duckworth, et al., 2011; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013)
Image: Thomas Hardwicke

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The arboreal and nocturnal characteristics of common palm civets are thought to have developed as a mechanism to avoid predators.

The arboreal and nocturnal characteristics of common palm civets are thought to have developed as a mechanism to avoid predators.

They are most commonly hunted by large cats, like tigers and leopards, and reptiles, like large snakes and crocodiles.

Sources: (Duckworth, 1997; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013)
Image: name in-progress

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Common palm civets are prime contributors to the dispersal of seeds, which helps forests regenerate.

Common palm civets eat the seeds of many trees in their area, like palm trees (Pinanga kuhlii and Pinanga zavana). They are prime contributors to the dispersal of these seeds, since they tend to pass them in their feces several hundred meters from where the seeds were consumed. This also encourages the seeds to germinate, which helps forests regenerate.

Sources: (Burton, 1968; Nelson, 2013)
Image: Biodiversity Heritage Library

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Male common palm civets have much larger ranges than females.

Generally, Asian palm civets remain in forested areas during the majority of their life in a typical area ranging from 1.4 to 50 square kilometers. Throughout the night, they travel several hundred meters, with a mean distance of 215 meters, mostly in the search of food.

Several studies on the range and movement habits of Asian palm civets have used radio-tracking collars. They found that males have much larger ranges than females, at 17 square kilometers and 2 square kilometers, respectively.

Sources: (Duckworth, et al., 2016; Grassman, 1998; Nelson, 2013; Rabinowitz, 1991)
Image: Praveenp

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Even though common palm civets are one of the most common species of civets, little is known about their behavior.

Even though common palm civets are one of the most common species of civets and the most common mammalian carnivore on Palawan island in the Philippines, it is one of the least studied mammals. It is often among the most commonly photographed small carnivores by ground-level camera-traps, yet little is known about their behavior due to their nocturnal, quiet, and secretive nature.

Asian palm civets are elusive, so their reproductive behavior has mostly been observed in a zoo setting and their mating system is unknown.

Sources: (Duckworth, 1997; Duckworth, et al., 2011; Larivière, 2003; Nelson, 2013)
Image: Mark Louis Benedict

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Common Palm Civet: Paradoxurus hermaphroditus

It’s the beginning of a new year! This month’s featured animal species is the common palm civet, one of the most common members of the Viverridae family within the larger Mammalia class.

 

LEARN

Learn more about the Least Concern common palm civet. Watch videos, view images, and read through publications and other resources all about this small mammal on the January 2018 FaunaFocus page, a hub for civet research, media, and discovery. Learn even more about this shy creature by checking FaunaFocus.com and @FaunaFocus on Twitter daily for bite-sized FaunaFacts.

 

CREATE

Let inspiration strike! Create something with the common palm civet in mind, whether it be a fictional story, simple poem, layered watercolor, interpretive dance, whatever medium you most resonate with! Do you see abstractions in the civet’s markings? Does the civet’s arboreal habitat inspire you? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, everyone has the ability to create. Try something new or hone your craft. Just let the common palm civet spark your imagination!

 

SHARE

Let’s focus on the common palm civet together! Find a family of wildlife-lovers on the FaunaFocus Twitch Stream Team or in the FaunaFocus Discord Server, or browse the hashtag #FaunaFocus to find more animal-themed content! Livestream your creative process or record it in a video. Tweet about your own research and findings, or discuss and identify in the Discord channels. Post your sketches, works-in-progress, and final creations on the social media of your choice. Don’t forget the hashtag!

 

GROW

For an extra challenge, enter the Fauna Free-For-All! Submit your best common palm civet-inspired creation to be live-judged on Twitch at the end of the month. Allow your artwork to be critiqued to find your strengths and weaknesses and improve your work in the future. All artists, art-forms, and media are eligible, just don’t miss the deadline!

 

IMAGE

Praveenp

The final Free-For-All of the year has come to an end! It’s hard to believe that we’re entering a new year of FaunaFocus. 5 entries were judged on Saturday, December 30th on the FaunaFocus Twitch Stream Team page by judges Noelle M. Brooks, Louis Herlihy, and Nick.

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries inspired by the white rhinoceros, especially during such a busy month! It was a pleasure to review the multitude of different styles, themes, and media offered.

Congratulations to December 2017’s Free-For-All Winner, Claire! Claire’s watercolor composition displayed a complimentary purple and yellow color scheme that highlighted the plight of the white rhinoceros. It invoked emotion within its creative and original elements and captured the attention of this month’s judges. Claire has chosen the FaunaFocus animal for the month of February 2018, which will be revealed at the end of January with the crowning of January 2018’s Free-For-All winner.

 

Calendar | Free-For-All | Free-For-All Archives

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The white rhinoceros is far less dangerous than the black rhinoceros, but females will aggressively protect their calves.

The white rhinoceros is far less excitable and dangerous to man than the black rhinoceros.

White rhinoceroses are generally non-aggressive animals, however, females with young calves are more aggressive than males and other females because they are protective towards their calves.

Although typically not aggressive, there have been a few cases in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, where white rhinoceroses have rammed cars and scared the occupants. These aggressive behaviors of rhinoceroses are most likely caused by anthropogenic sounds that startle the rhinos.

Although the white rhinoceros can injure some people, there haven’t been any mortality associated with it.

Sources: (Dulal, 2017; Durrheim & Leggat, 1999; Estes, 1991; Groves, 1972; Rachlow, Berkeley, & Berger, 1998)
Image: Fyre Mael

 

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White rhinoceroses are larger than black rhinoceroses and have a nuchal hump, a longer head, a straighter back, and a square lip, as opposed to the hooked lip of the black rhino.

The white rhinoceros may be distinguished externally from the sympatric black rhinoceros, (Diceros bicornis,) by a larger size, presence of a nuchal hump that is more obvious when the head is held up, a long head, square lip, enlarged horn-bases, and a straight back with marked presacral.

The white rhinoceros’ head is normally held low and the lips are flat, squared. and broad, suitable for grazing. The lower lip bears a hardened pad.

The average length of the white rhinoceros’ head and body, not including tail, is 3.35 to 3.77 meters. The average length of tail of white rhinoceroses ranges from 0.57 to 0.77 meters. In addition, white rhinoceros average shoulder height is 1.71 to 2.85 meters, whereas their average girth is between 2.01 and 2.20 meters.

Sources: (Dulal, 2017; Estes, 1991; Groves, 1972; Nowak, 1999; Pienaar, 1994)
Image: Paul Baker

 

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White rhinoceroses are diurnal during the winter and crepuscular during the summer, in order to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

White rhinoceroses are generally sedentary and do not migrate from one place to another during different seasons. Instead, they alternately feed and rest day and night. White rhinos are both diurnal and crepuscular, differing across seasons.

During winter, they are diurnal, meaning their peak hours of activity occur during daytime. On the other hand, white rhinoceroses are crepuscular during summer seasons, with peak hours of activity between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM. This shift is a way to avoid hotter weather in the summer, when they are least active and spend most of their time wallowing in mud baths.

Sources: (Dulal, 2017; Estes, 1991; Groves, 1972; Rachlow, Berkeley, & Berger, 1998)
Image: Ronald Gijezen

 

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White rhinoceros have a mutual relationship with cattle egret and Cape sterling, as the birds remove disease-causing insects and parasites from the rhinos’ hide.

White rhinoceroses have a mutualistic relationship with cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and Cape starling (Lamprotornis nitens). These birds feed on the insects and parasites that are present in the hide and on the back of the rhinoceroses.

Initially, red-billed oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) were also thought to have a mutualistic relationship with the rhinoceroses, however, recent studies suggested that these oxpeckers actually prolonged the healing time of wounds and removed earwax, rather than feeding and reducing ticks that are on the skin.

One of the parasites that birds feed on is ticks. There are 14 species of ticks recovered from the body of white rhinoceroses, which include Amblyomma rhinocerotis, Dermacentor rhinoceros, Hyalomma truncatum, and Rhipicephalus maculatus. Parasites such as piroplasms, which are blood-borne protozoans parasites, have been associated with the disease, such as babesiosis, in white rhinoceroses, which can be fatal sometimes. 66% of individuals of white rhinoceroses in one study, tested exhibited infection from one species of piroplasm (Theileria bicornis). Furthermore, the infection of this parasite was not associated with age, sex, or location. The infection of these parasitic protozoans has contributed to exponential decreases of white rhinoceroses.

Sources: (Dulal, 2017; Govender, Oosthuisen, & Penzhorn, 2011; Groves, 1972; Otiende, et al., 2015; Penzhorn, et al., 1994; Waldram, Bond, & Stock, 2008)
Image: Lawrence Lew

 

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White rhinoceroses generally run at speeds of 24 km/hr, but can reach up to 40 km/hr.

White rhinoceroses can run at speeds of 24 kilometers per hour, and can reach up to 40 kilometers per hour for short periods of time.

A common behavior of white rhinoceroses is the way they respond to predators, such as lion attacks. For example, all white rhinoceroses run with their hind feet continuously striking the ground and their forefeet following the direction of the way other rhinos are running, during the flight.

Sources: (Dulal, 2017; Estes, 1991; Groves, 1972; Rachlow, Berkeley, & Berger, 1998)
Image: Charles Chuck Peterson

 

With the holiday season and year coming to a close it is time for everyone who participated in this years FaunaFocus Holiday Art Trade to submit the art they created for the person assigned to them. The deadline to submit is quickly approaching this Monday, January 1st, 2018 at 12:00 PM CST.

Please make sure to post your finished piece on the FaunaFocus Discord in the #Holiday-art-trade channel and tag the person who it is for. Thank you to everyone who decided to help spread the holiday cheer by participating!

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White rhinoceroses are keystone species that help increase the biodiversity of grasses and prevent wildfires.

White rhinoceroses are mega-herbivores that graze on vast amount of grasses. Their general diets include thick bush covers and short grasses. Some of the species of grasses they consume are panic grass (Panicum), signal grass (Urochloa), and finger grass (Digitaria), which are commonly found in shady areas of grasslands. They also eat fruits, as well as the leaves, stems, seeds, nuts, and flowers of trees.

They are considered as keystone species because they help to increase the biodiversity of grasses and potentially prevent the wildfires. The grazing of grasses by white rhinoceroses makes grasses so short, wildfire cannot burn the grasses. It’s possible that this indirectly prevents damage to nearby towns.

Furthermore, removal of rhinoceroses from grasslands resulted in the disappearance of 50% of the land-cover of short grasses from the area.

Sources: (Dulal, 2017; Estes, 1991; Govender, Oosthuisen, & Penzhorn, 2011; Groves, 1972; Nowak, 1999; Penzhorn, et al., 1994; Skinner & Chimimba, 2006; Waldram, Bond, & Stock, 2008)
Image: Fyre Mael