Malagasy Civet. This is a Civet. A civet is a small, lithe-bodied, mostly nocturnal mammal w 12 species, native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. Most of the species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The best-known civet species is the African Civet, Civettictis civetta, which historically has been the main species from which was obtained a musky scent used in perfumery. The word civet may also refer to the distinctive musky scent produced by the animals.