Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Civet babies

Today a villager came up to the orphanage with two little animals that he no longer wanted. He had killed and eaten the mother which he said was very tasty but the babies were just too small to eat. So he brought them to me to get a few extra dollars for his family.

  At first I didn't recognize these animals, but compared them to a local weasel called Akasama. When they exclaimed that it becomes as large as a dog I just couldn't believe it! Maybe it is a ferret, or another animal similar to a skunk.

 I did some research and even called my buddy, Fred in Lusaka who runs the Munda Wanga Wildlife Sanctuary and sent him a few pictures of the thing. The next day he wrote and said it was a Civet. I immediately went to Google to confirm this answer, and he was right.
 Fred connected me to a woman in Zimbabwe, Lisa Hywood who runs a trust for animals  and who has experience in raising Civets. Today I got an email from her with instructions on how to make a formula and the amount of times they need to be fed. I was very happy for this and started right away with this program.

  The formula is 120mls.-long life full cream milk in a box, 3 tablespoons-full cream powdered milk, children's multi vitamin and minerals.
  I feed them five times a day. 6 AM, 10 AM, 2 PM, 6 PM and 10 PM.  One is a bit bigger then the other so the amounts will be different. The big one (currently weighing 415 g.) will be getting 10-14 ml. (2-3 teaspoons) at a feeding, and the smaller one (at 250 g.) 6-8 ml. (1 1/2 teaspoons)  per feeding.

They have no teeth and make a squealing noise throughout the day. A noise that is equivalently aggravating to a baby's cry.

  They have many small fleas so she suggested Johnson's Baby powder, Savlon or Dettol for a temporary control until I get Frontline which is the best.

While feeding these creatures they paw me with their bear like feet and hands!

Their coat is soft and beautiful, a thing that contributes to their soon extinction

An interesting fact about the Civet is that it helps to give us the most expensive cup of coffee in the world. $50 a cup! How? You feed them ripe coffee beans, wait a few hours for them to digest and excrete,  collect, roast over a fire, grind and drink. The taste is supposed to be the best ever. Like coffee but without the bitterness, thick, a bit oily, and smooth.