Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Another one of those squirrel look-a-likes crossed my path

A bit over four years ago, I came across a mysterious animal -- a squirrel- or raccoon-like animal -- along Pili Drive in UP Los Banos. At that time, I had thought it to be an oddity because as far as I knew, there are no squirrels, skunks, or raccoons in the Los Banos area... but browsing the Internet proved me wrong.

Fast forward to a few days ago.

I wish I had a camera to take a photo of the animal that crossed the road!

Once again, I was driving late at night along Pili Drive. Once again, a furry, bushy tailed, dark-colored four-legged creature darted across the road and hesitated right in the middle of Pili Drive. If I were driving too fast, it would've been roadkill. The animal looked confused; it couldn't decide whether to cross the road or not. Its hesitation allowed me a closer look at the mysterious creature as I slowed to a complete stop. The animal had a grey body with slick fur (like a beaver's) while its tail was a thick furry black stretch (like a raccoon). There were no markings on its fur nor on its tail.  

Was it a beaver or a raccoon, then?

Based on the tail color and shape, I'd think it wasn't any of the two possibilities. Plus, a raccoon is too fat and too tall to be the mysterious animal. A beaver is of the wrong fur color too.

I related my sighting to people in the lab and they think I might have seen a civet this time around. Their idea might have some bearing. After all, scientists from the US have found evidence of two species of civets in Mount Makiling. According to references cited by Corazon Catibog-Sinha, the civet species in Mount Makiling are Paradoxurus philippinensis (palm civet) and Viverra tangalunga (Malay civet).

If the two mysterious animals were civets, I wonder what they were doing so close to human settlements. Are they pets? Have they escaped from cages? Where they looking for food? 

Maybe I'll see one of them again someday. Until then, I'll continue wondering.

That's got to be one of my more exciting evening drives in a long time!