Camera trapping the lovely masked palm civet. Ahhhhh, at last a mammal and here we have the masked palm civet which is also known as the gem-faced civet (Paguma larvata).
Yes, yes, there have been complaints about too many birds in my everyday blog - but my only excuse is "its that time of year", and i'm sticking with it. Anyway...to keep y'all happy and to try my hand at something new, I have begun some camera trapping.
First I reconnoitre a given area to try and establish any animal paths. Then I put up trail cams to see if I can learn behaviour, like time of visit, and how many different animals (or people!).
These images are poor quality, like these below, but they do time stamps, show routes and numbers, and also like here, sometimes show a mother with a couple of cubs...
Then I set up a DSLR with some weather protection and an infra-red heat sensitive trigger, which can be seen on the far right of this photo below.
I manual focus using 40mm and f8 which gives a good depth-of-field, and then link the camera to a flash placed high above. The unit is programmed to only fire at night, as these animals are nocturnal, with appearances around 8-9pm then 2am and 5am.
Then it is a case of luck and checking the camera a couple of days later.....and a big thank you to Lloyd Kenda of Valley Veterinary Centre for location scouting and his help scrambling up the hills, and chocolate cake. It's not all hard work you know.....
Its quite a bit of work....but the images are quite unique as I would never be able to capture the civet cats so close in the wild like this....
The genus Paguma was first named and described by John Edward Gray in 1831, and in recent times, masked palm civets were considered to be a likely vector of SARS (more on that on my blog tomorrow).
The masked palm civet resembles other palm civets, but does not have spots or stripes, and it has a black and white facial mask. They can get quite large, with the adult body up to 70cm or more, and a tail of another 60cm.
More on this lovely animal tomorrow.