Anyone able to tell me what this is please?

06/23/2009 - 19:38

My husband Ron is over at our house in Italy with our dog Tink.Yesterday Tink was growling quite fiercely at an aminal in the field next door to our house and not the normal growl when she sees a cat or another dog, but a loud one.Anyway the animal she was growling at has baffled Ron.  He said it was bigger than a normal cat, was white/cream coloured with a thick dark brown or black tail, had a pointed face, was skinny and ran really fast when it heard Tink.Has anyone any idea what this creature could have been? Ron said he has never seen anything like it before. 


Could it be what the Italians call a faina? It is a stone marten and is common in central Europe and Italy. It eats hens and other domestic animals if it gets half a chance. My sister's hens are a favourite prey...

Obviously as I am still here in the UK I didn't see it but from his description the civet sounds about right, ie the dark thick tail and pointed face.  What sort of size are they?  I will show him this thread when he returns next week and see which one it was.. This is the wonderful thing having the house out in the countryside with a river not far away, we see all sorts of animals and birds which we don't see in the UK.  Last year, driving home about 11pm, a few hundred yards from our house on the road was a huge porcupine. We were one side of it in the car and a neighbours dog was the other side and the poor thing looked terrified, its quills all pointed upwards.  I thought it was so beautiful and much bigger than I ever imagined them to be.Thank you everyone for your help.  I will let you know what it was.Maralyn

Ok I own up, it was me. My tail went all bushey as I was scared. Sorry I'll call before I arrive next  time. Gromit

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Just to remind you, in view of the above thread, not to leave any cheese out. Could be a matter of 'Loaf and Death'. Sure it wasn't a Were-Rabbit?

Andrew, are you serious about roasted porcupine in Colleferro (which isn't too far from us).  I already have some quills which we found on the road. Very beautiful but sharp!Spoke to Ron this evening and got another description from him and it sounds like a civet.  He is back in just under a week so will show him this thread. We both think it is great to have these animals all around us.It definitely wasn't a were-rabbit though. We have them in the back garden here in the UK!!!Maralyn

I'm pretty convinced that porcupine is a protected species, but as you know when you get out into the wilds / backwoods etc there's always some traditions that die hard. We were guests of Colleferro Rugby, and one of our hosts was; to say the least; a bit of a risky character (sadly he's no longer with us...)He specialised in demonstarting his 'riskiness' and one evening took us to the back of beyond for dinner in what appeared to be a shack in the hills. It turned out to be a sort of trattoria for locals, and we ate both porcupine and young deer, again out of season but when you're in the sticks...These are traditions and habits that you'll only ever discover (that's if you even want to) by being involved in local life, and knowing someone like our sadly departed friend.I'm also told that in some parts of Italy porcupines are considered a pest, and can destroy a garden overnight.Each to their own...

It also sounds a bit like a fox.... we have some that live and raise their families in our back garden (in the UK) and their colours can vary from the typical "fox" colour, through lighter to darker; the tail can be dark and they certainly have a pointed face.When he senses them nearby, our dog growls loudly and his hackles rise right up along his spine and then he barks.