In and around wooded areas P. h. javanicus feeds almost entirely on berries and pulpy fruits, perhaps rarely on small, slow animals. It does not damage the seeds it swallows and which it deposits later, up to a few kilometers from the tree wherefrom it took the fruit. The deposited seeds are fully germinable and cleansed of the adhering fruit meat, thus preventing possible destruction of the germ through moulds. Notably for some palm seeds — such as those of the sugar palm — passage through the Tody Cat’s intestinal tract seems necessary for rendering them germinable. A typical habit seems to be its accomplishing an auto-peristaltic movement whenever it arrives at an open spot, a fresh earthslide or the like. Right here it prefers to deposit its droppings and in so doing start reforestation. For many seeds it is the only agent performing this service. Its usefulness in this respect is hardly known, much less appreciated and honoured. Its alleged rapacity as to poultry is definitely exaggerated, probably false, and certainly needs scientific investigation and proof. The quantity of consumption-fruit it takes from man-owned fruit trees must be considered trivial as compared to what other animals take, and for which it is too often blamed. The evidence available strongly supports the desirability to protect Paradoxurus hermaphroditus javanicus against indiscriminate killing.


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Naturalis journals & series

Bartels, E. (1964). On Paradoxurus hermaphroditus javanicus (Horsfield, 1824). The Common Palm Civet or Tody Cat in western Java. Notes on its food and feeding habits. Its ecological importance for wood and rural biotopes. Beaufortia, 10(124), 193–201.