We examined whether masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) would leave claw marks on wooden poles by having them climb poles experimentally. We also examined the features of civet's claw marks that are generally mistaken for claw marks of racoons (Procyon lotor). The test sessions included two conditions: square and round poles of different sizes (10, 15, and 20 cm). Civets climbed wooden poles regardless of the shape and usually left short claw marks on the pole surface. The claw marks that are generally mistaken for those of a raccoon (five fingers, claw marks over 4 cm in width and over 1 cm in length) occurred in 7.6% of tracks with the 10-cm square pole, 4.1% of tracks with the 15-cm square pole, and 0.6% of tracks with the 20-cm square pole. In the round pole experiments, claw marks generally mistaken for those of a raccoon occurred in 0.0% of tracks with the 10-cm diameter pole, 0.4% of tracks with the 15-cm diameter pole, and 2.1% with 20-cm diameter pole. These results suggest that the presence of masked palm civets would have little impact on the use of claw marks to assess raccoon distribution.
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Vol. 45 • No. 4