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Breaking roofs, trashing kitchens: Bedok residents plagued by civets invading their homes

Breaking roofs, trashing kitchens: Bedok residents plagued by civets invading their homes
A civet trapped in a cage by a Jalan Chempaka Puteh resident.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

We've seen otters and macaques invade homes, but it seems like there's a new critter in town. 

Some residents from Jalan Chempaka Puteh in Bedok have been plagued by civets sneaking into their homes, reported Shin Min Daily News on Monday (Nov 28). 

One of them, surnamed Su, told the Chinese daily he first noticed them appearing around his residential area back in 2018, where he saw a dead civet in a carpark near his home. The creature was bitten to death by a dog. 

"A few weeks later, I saw another one hiding in my home cabinet. I had to let it escape," lamented the 64-year-old teacher. 

From then on, civets have continued to 'visit' his home, sneaking into the kitchen and trashing the place. 

To deal with these pesky animals, Su bought a cage to trap them two years ago — a solution that he describes as a "last resort", to prevent the civet cats from damaging his home.

"I caught one in December 2020 and I called Acres (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) for help," he said. 

Last Saturday, Su shared that he caught another civet at about 12am, bringing the total number up to six in the span of two years. 

"Every time I catch one, I'll take a 20-minute drive to Tanah Merah, where I let them go." 

Aside from the inconvenience of dealing with the trapped civets, Su said he's also concerned that the animals would spread diseases. 

Another resident, who gave her name as Patricia, also complained to Shin Min about her family's encounter with these animals sneaking into her home. 

Thus far, they've snuck into her house four, five times over the years, stealing fruit and defecating in her living room. 

"My son once saw them climbing up the pillars on the exterior of her house, and they managed to get onto the roof by climbing on the antennas," shared the 62-year-old housewife. 

More incredulously, Patricia said that two civets once fell through her ceiling after fighting on the roof, resulting in the family having to engage a contractor to repair it. 

"They (the civets) even ran up the bed and continued to fight. One of them eventually escaped though a window, while the other hid in the toilet." 

"I spent $2,000 fixing the ceiling [after that incident], but I'm more worried that they will nest in my ceiling." 

One attacked a pet bird 

Chairman of the Chempaka residents' association, Zhong Wuwei, told Shin Min that five or six residents have complained about civets breaking into their homes in the past two or three years. 

The association has received about 10 complaints about these animals so far. 

Zhong revealed that a resident's pet parrot was attacked by a civet several years ago and although the bird was sent to a vet for treatment, it eventually died.

"Up till now, we all keep our bird cages inside our homes, for fear of the same thing happening again." 

In addition, Zhong also confirmed that Su isn't the only one who has bought a cage. 

"I've informed the authorities, and they said that we're not allowed to catch wild animals, but the residents are doing this out of self-preservation." 

Under the Wild Animals and Birds Act, it is an offence to intentionally feed, release, trap and kill wild animals.

In 2020, a Bill was passed to amend the Act which increases the penalties for those who are caught doing so

What to do about civets invasions

To keep civets out of one's home, NParks advises homeowners to seal off entrances to roofs to prevent them from nesting in roof spaces

In the event that civets choose to nest, homeowners can install a spotlight shine in their roof to encourage them to relocate. 

Other tips to prevent civets from entering homes include not leaving food exposed and closing windows in places where food is visible. 

Homeowners can also call the NParks' Animal Response Centre at 1800-476-1600 if: 

  • A civet is trapped in your house and unable to leave on its own
  • The civet appears to be injured

ALSO READ: '6 years of battling this creature': Man finds civet cat hiding in his ceiling

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