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    Civets are frugivorous animals in the Order Carnivora. They are relatively less shy towards people and anthropogenic habitats. It has been reported that the civets' preference of defecating in open sites enable them to be important seed dispersers of degraded forests and urban ecosystems of Asia and Africa. We surveyed for scats of palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) in forest fragments of sacred groves (closed), coffee plantations (partly closed) and home gardens (relatively open) during the fruit ripening period of Coffee and Caryota urens - the two preferred fruits of civet - to report the microhabitat characteristics and seed composition of civet latrines. The microhabitat of each scat position - whether on or off the ground and the shade type - was recorded. The scat analysis showed the presence of 4234 seeds belonging to coffee (90.2%), C. urens (9.7%), and an anonymous Rubiacea species (0.10%) in a total of 105 scats collected from coffee plantations (55), home gardens (5), and sacred groves (45). The number of scats sampled from the three habitats was different, but not the number of seeds per scat. Overall, the number of scats increased with the canopy cover, but the trend was different for different habitats. In home garden and coffee plantations, it decreased, but in sacred groves, it increased with the canopy cover. The number of scats sampled above the ground - on tree branches, logs and built-up structures- was more than that was on the ground. The findings contradict the general belief that the civet latrines occur more in open areas than the shaded areas. Because the civet latrines are seen more above ground than on the ground, their efficiency as seed dispersal agent may be examined critically in different contexts. © 2023. The Author(s).


    Palatty Allesh Sinu, P P Fahira, T P Rajesh, Gopika Viswan, K Manoj, M Hariraveendra, Thomas Jose. Civet latrines in three habitats of a coffee dominated landscape of the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot. Scientific reports. 2023 Dec 20;13(1):22698

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    PMID: 38123612

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