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Palm civet shakes up Indian Parliament

 A police officer stands guard outside the Indian parliament building December 13, 2001 in New Delhi, India.
Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

While Congress certainly could use some shaking up these days, the Indian Parliament in New Dehli recently went into tizzy after a “strange” visitor got past security forces and invaded the heavily guarded compound a few weeks ago. Luckily, the invader was not a terrorist. In fact, it wasn’t even human according to reports from the NGO Wildlife SOS, which were called into retrieve a rare palm civet that had taken refuge behind a TV set in the library.

Referred to locally as a "kabr bicchu," palm civets are an endangered species that looks something like a cross between a mongoose and a wild cat, and is considered to have mythical aspects. They are, however, harmless; primarily nocturnal and live primarily on a diet of fruit (especially mangos and coffee beans), although they are considered to be an omnivores, and are known to scavenge on occasion.

According to Geeta Seshamani, the co-founder of Wildlife SOS, it is not known whether the civet came in lobby Parliament on behalf of animal rights, although it was found to be severely dehydrated, civets often look for “refuge” in air conditioner ducts, and attics, as well as false ceilings, etc. as humans continue to encroach on their natural habitats. The animal is now under medical care and will be released back into the wild when able. In the meantime Wildlife co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan commented that its capture in the Parliamentary compound served as a reminder that “more people about wildlife conservation and habitat protection."

Palm civets are generally weigh between 4-11 lbs and are about the size of house cats, with coase shaggy gray hair and a white mask across their foreheads. They are also found in Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka,Thailand, Singapore, The Malaysian Peninsula and the Philippines, as well as other Pacific nations, including China where they are often hunted for ”bush meat,” as well as by certain tribes for medicinal purposes particularly as a cure for scabies.”