They live in primary and secondary forests near lowland water sources.
Earthworms make up the bulk of these animals natural diet, but they also eat fish, frogs, insects and fruit.
Owston’s civets are largely solitary creatures, preferring to spend their time on their own instead of with others of their species. They live in the forests of Vietnam, spending most of their days asleep and starting their foraging for food at dusk. Occasionally they will venture up the trees to look for food but prefer to spend most of their time on the ground using their long snouts to dig into the soil for food.
A female civet will make a den under a tree trunk or inside a dense bush, and this is where she will sleep and have her young. A newborn civet will weigh approximately 88 grams.
Owston’s civets are eaten in some restaurants, and their bones, scents glands and gall bladders are used in traditional medicines.
The beautiful striped coat of the Owston’s civet is unfortunately its downfall – as they are hunted illegally for their fur. They also have an attractive musky scent which has also led to them being hunted in the wild. Due to the disappearance of the forests they live in and their restricted range, loss of habitat is a problem for these beautiful animals.
These civets occur within protected areas of their range. However illegal poaching still occurs. It was only in 2005 that Owston’s civets were first allowed out of Vietnam to start a breeding programme. An adult pair came to Newquay Zoo, and we have been very successful, along with other zoos, at breeding the species.