Island Palm Civet feeding in a Ficus septica tree along the Tomanggong Road at Tabin Wildlife Reserve in E. Sabah.
The Island Palm Civet (previously Common Palm Civet) Paradoxurus philippinenis is the most common of the 3 palm civets found at Tabin. Studies by Nakashima et al (2013) and Nakabayshi et al (2014) found that the preferred habitat of Island Palm Civets was the lush secondary growth along unpaved gravel roads. The majority of the diet was secondary forest fruit and these civets deposited their faeces in open areas, along paths and along the gravel roads at Tabin, thus “farming” their own habitat.
Island Palm Civets preferred fruit are two secondary forest plants Leea aculeata and Endospermum diadenum as well as oil palm fruits obtained from the adjacent oil palm plantation. However when their preferred fruit is unavailable they switch to figs. The proportion of figs in their diet varies from 25% (normal) to over 50% of their diet when their favoured fruits are unavailable. See Nakashima et al (2013) and Nakabayshi et al (2014)
The lush roadside vegetation along the Tomanggong Road at Tabin is dominated by pioneer plants with fruits favoured by Island Palm Civet. These plants include Leea indica, Endospermun diadenum, Anthocephalus cadamba (Laran) and 4 species of Cynopterus fruit-bat dispersed figs, Ficus variegata, Ficus lepicarpa, Ficus fistulosa and Ficus septica. Unlike Leea indica, and Endospermun diadenum fruits these bat figs tend to ripen fig fruit sequentially not in one big bang and so attract trap lining Island Palm Civets and Striped Palm Civets which visit the fruiting fig trees every night when other fruit are scarce.