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LEXICON

 

 

Common Palm Civet

Mammal with the scientific name Paradoxurus hermaphroditus. The word hermaphroditus refers to the fact that both sexes have scent glands underneath the tail, that resemble testicles (fig.) and with which it can spray a noxious secretion. Its nickname Toddy Cat derives from its fondness for palm flower sap which, when fermented, becomes toddy, a word which itself derives from the Hindustani word for tar palm. This nocturnal, weasel-like mammal (fig.) belongs to the family Viverridae and is native to southern India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and southern China. Coffee berries which have been eaten by and pass largely undigested through the digestive tract of the Common Palm Civet, are harvested from its feces and used to prepare a type of coffee, known in Indonesia as kopi luwak, literally ‘civet coffee’. This practice is also known in Vietnam, the Philippines and in East Timor, where this rare and expensive product is known as café chôn/ca phe chon (weasel coffee - fig.), kape alamid and kafé-laku, respectively. Also known as the Asian Palm Civet and Toddy Cat, and in Thai referred to as ih-hen thammada, which is also transcribed ee-hen thammada.