Paradoxurus zeylonensisgolden palm civet

Geographic Range

Paradoxurus zeylonensis is found in south and southeast Asia, specifically in Sri Lanka and Ceylon. (Ellerman 1966, Macdonald 1985, Parker 1990)


Paradoxurus zeylonensis is mainly arboreal, keeping mostly to large tree branches. They have been observed to sleep in the roof of bungalows adjacent to the jungle and in hollow tree branches. (Phillips 1935)

Physical Description


Very little is known about the reproduction of P. zeylonensis. Young have been found in October and November, and so it is thought that reproduction occurs in the latter months of the year. It is also thought that females may have more than one litter per year. Two or three young are produced in each litter. The gestation period and life span of this species are unknown, as are the ages of weaning and sexual maturity. (Anderson 1984, Parker 1990, Phillips 1935)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual


As Vaughan (1986) succinctly states: "Probably no family of carnivores is so poorly known as the viverrids, and P. zeylonensis is no exception. However, it is known that this species is mainly arboreal, moreso than its relative, the toddy-cat. The golden palm civet is nocturnal as well as solitary, except during the breeding period and while young are being raised. The young of these animals are easily tamed (although no accounts of them as common pets were found). (Phillips 1935)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The golden palm civet is mainly frugivorous, with preferences for mango, coffee, melon, pineapple and bananas. This species has also been observed to eat small mammals, birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, moths, and other insects when it is able to catch them. (Anderson 1984, Parker 1990, Phillips 1935)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

As the young are easily tamed, although no detailed information was given on any tamed animals. (Phillips 1935)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

The golden palm civet's habit of roosting in the roof of bungalows located near the edge of the jungle may be annoying to humans, but no damage by these creatures was reported. The frugivorous habits of P. zeylonensis may be destructive if these animals live near land where fruits eaten by this species are being raised as crops (bananas, mangos, etc). However, this was not mentioned to be a large problem in any of the literature found on this species. (Phillips 1935)

Conservation Status

Other Comments

This species needs to be studied in the wild, as well as in captivity, so that more information can be gathered about its life span, behavior, and reproductive habits. Also, because this species is very local in its distribution, a careful eye should be kept on its numbers.


Kristen Schweighoefer (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Anderson, S. and J.K. Jones, Jr. (ed.) 1984. Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley & Sons. New York.

Ellerman, J.R. 1966. Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). London.

Macdonald, D. 1985. Encyclopedia of Mammals. Facts on File Publications. New York.

Parker, S.P. (ed.) 1990. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Volume 3. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. New York.

Phillips, W.W.A. Manual of the Mammals of Ceylon. Dulau & Co., Ltd. London.

Vaughan, T.A. 1986. Mammalogy. 3rd Edition. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. New York.