Meet “Maylay” the Asian Palm Civet
No, it’s not a cat, it’s not a raccoon, it’s not a genet (for you exotic experts)…it’s a baby Asian Palm Civet. Meet "Maylay," named in honor of her native Malaysia. Maylay is Zooniversity’s newest teacher and is quickly becoming one of our students’ favorites.
Civets are not cats, they are viverrids, and are related to the genet, the binturong and the fossa. Palm civets are mostly frugivorous (fruit-eaters) and live high in the trees of the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures and although they’d prefer the rainforest’s solitude, habitat loss has caused them to also move into urban ecosystems, where they’re often found nesting in people’s attics and are now considered nuisance animals.
Civets do offer humans a few rather odd marketable products — both which sell for a great deal of money. Civets can produce a rather spicy, sweet musk (we think it smells like buttered popcorn), that can be collected and is used as an expensive ingredient in rare perfumes. And, the Asian Palm civet produces the world’s most expensive coffee bean. You read that correctly, they produce coffee beans. The Asian Palm civet loves to eat wild green coffee cherries. Their frugivorous digestive system causes a fermentation of the beans as it passes through their gut. The excreted coffee beans, once collected from scat and roasted, are supposed to be make the finest (and most expensive) coffee in the world — Kopi Luwak. Care to try it? You can, for $399 per pound. However, you’ll have to order it, as we won’t be feeding Maylay green coffee cherries here at Zooniversity.
Maylay is now traveling to Zooniversity stage shows and private events. She is an "eyes only" animal (meaning "no touch"), as she likes to play civet-style with her baby teeth and claws. Invite Maylay to your next Zooniversity event and meet one of Malaysia’s national treasures (but, bring your own coffee).