The Masked Bandit!

Here is a poem celebrating one of CME’s little known animals, which emerges at night and is harmless to man, yet people in their ignorance kill the animal on sight. All readers are requested to instruct family members, staff of their departments, and servants not to kill this animal.


You hardly see me on the ground,
I’m slickest of all the mammals around,
Late at night when everyone’s asleep,
Then CME’s all mine to creep!

Living in lofts of campus bungalows,
or holes in tree trunks far above,
Fruits, and insects are what I devour,
I am an accomplished omnivore.

I even eat some seeds such as coffee beans
that when excreted, cost beyond your means.
My scent glands give rise to an aroma nice,
called civet, which smells, just like basmati rice,

I’m harmless to humans, yet people fear,
me strangely;  kill me without a tear,
Pray be merciful and please let me be,
I’m just one of nature’s banditry.

Call me Palm civet or toddy cat,
Enjoy my company,
For larger mammals in CME you can no longer see,
For I too have my role like all the others
in our ecosystem’s biodiversity.

The palm civet – by Gustav Mützel (1927)

Explore posts in the same categories: animal behaviour, art, CME Weekly, Maharashtra, nature, poetry

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6 Comments on “The Masked Bandit!”

  1. mercadee Says:

    Animal cruelty. Sometimes it’s acknowledged, a lot of times, it is not. And for what reason? Why do humans become ignorant of the pain animals go through? There are humans who become outraged at the thought of another human murdering another human yet they themselves will slowly kill an animal through neglect and cruelty. What gives a human the right to cast cruelty on an animal merely because they can and because the animal cannot defend itself?

    • Besides this, ignorance and fear of the unlkown are common reasons why people kill animals. I hope that at least some people have been sensitised by the post.

  2. dilipnaidu Says:

    Fantastic post Ashwin. Thank god I never did do any harm to this cute little Toddy cat in my CME days 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  3. susansharma Says:

    Ashwin, sensitize more people. Can we publish your poem on palm civet at

  4. iniyaal Says:

    Oh… to think this harmless creature is threatened by man’s ignorance… Indeed, every small animal and rodent has its role in balancing the ecosystem!

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