The African palm civet is a small "cat-like" carnivoran widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. It is grey to dark brown in color with dark spots on the back. It has short legs, small ears, a lean body, and a long ringed tail. This palm civet has two sets of scent glands on the lower abdomen and between the third and fourth toes on each foot, which secrete a strong-smelling substance used to mark territory and in mating.
African palm civets are found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa from Guinea to South Sudan, south to Angola, and into eastern Zimbabwe. They inhabit deciduous forests, lowland rainforests, gallery, and riverine forests, savanna woodlands, and logged forests.
African palm civets are nocturnal, largely arboreal mammals that spend most of the time on large branches, among lianas in the canopy of trees. They are solitary; males have home ranges of 34-153 ha (0.13-0.59 sq mi) and females of 29-70 ha (0.11-0.27 sq mi). The home range of a dominant male typically includes home ranges of several females.
African palm civets are polygynous and each male mates with females whose home ranges overlap with his territory. In Gabon, females were recorded to give birth in the long wet season and at the onset of the dry season between September and January. The female usually gives birth after a gestation period of 2-3 months. A litter consists of up to 4 baby civets that are suckled for around 3 months. At the age of 3 years, both males and females become reproductively mature and start to breed.
The main threat to African palm civets is habitat loss due to commercial logging and mining activities. Forests are converted for agricultural use including large-scale oil palm plantations in concessions obtained by a foreign company. Another serious threat to this species comes from hunting for bushmeat. The attitude of rural people in Ghana towards African palm civets is hostile; they consider them a menace to their food resources and the safety of children. In Gabon, it is among the most frequently found small carnivores for sale in bushmeat markets.
According to IUCN, the African palm civet is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.