139. Civet


Civet is a small, lithe, arboreal mammal; native to the tropics of Asia and Africa. It resembles a cat in its general appearance, but its muzzle is extended and pointed like the muzzle of an otter or mongoose!

The civet is 17 to 28 inches long, excluding its long tail. It weighs between 3 and 10 pounds. Both the sexes produce a strong smelling secretion from their perineal gland. It is harvested by scraping it off from the live animals.

Fox-dung-coffee is an exotic drink prepared from the dung of civets! Called by the fascinating name “Kopi Luwak” it is prepared using the coffee cherries, that have been eaten and partially digested by the Asian Palm civets. It is harvested from its feces.

The civet digests the flesh of the coffee cherries but passes on the beans inside. It lets the stomach enzymes go to work on the beans and add to the coffee’s prized aroma and flavor.

Only a 1000 pounds of civet coffee is marketed every year. A pound of this can cost $600 in some parts of the world. A mere cup can cost $100 in some other parts of the world!

Visalakshi Ramani

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