Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Toddy Cat

Forest Department officials rescued a toddy cat from the Central Polytechnic College in Taramani on Monday.

A staff of the college, who spotted the cat, called up the officials, who reached the spot and seized the animal by its ears to avoid being bitten. The officials, after bringing the toddy cat, also known as the common palm civet, to their range office at Velachery, fed it with fruits after getting it treated at the Blue Cross. It is likely to be released in the forest soon.

“We got a call at 10 am from a staff of the college. We rescued the cat and brought it to our office. The cat could be two years old,” said Dr S David Raj, Forest Range Officer.

Forest officials said that the nocturnal greyish coloured mammal is highly adaptive and lives in thick forests, agricultural areas and gardens, and can even coexist with humans.

But it mostly lives in a place where fruit trees and fig trees grow.

“The cat sleeps in tree hollows during the day time and is active during the night, hunting for food. It is very defensive,” according to  David Raj.

The cat, besides eating fruits like chiku and mango, takes palm fruit sap that becomes toddy after fermentation. Hence it is named ‘toddy cat’. It also eats reptiles, eggs and insects, the officials said.

The toddy cat weighs approximately three kilograms and is 21-inches long, while its tail could more than half the size of its body.

The ‘toddy cat’ has black markings on its body, feet and ears, and claws that help it climb trees.