THE RSPCA is appealing for the owner of the Asian palm civet found in Halesowen to claim the animal.

A spokeswoman for the animal charity said it is caring for the jungle  creature and, if the owner cannot be traced, it will be rehomed appropriately.

She said: "Our officer said it does appear used to people and is not showing signs of aggression.

"Anyone who may know the owner of this civet is urged to call the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and ask to speak to animal collection officer Shaun Howden."

She added that as a wild animal, if kept in captivity as a pet, the owner is responsible for ensuring its needs are met - which would be the same as their needs in the wild - under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

"This would include providing the correct diet, environment and ability to express normal behaviour. Failure to meet these needs could be an offence under this legislation.

"We have concerns about the keeping of these animals as pets, as they are wild animals and have same needs as they would have in their natural wild environment. Asian palm civets are nocturnal and arboreal in the wild.

"Anyone keeping one as a pet would need to allow for this natural behaviour, therefore the animal would be active at night and need to be given the opportunity to climb. They are a mainly solitary species," she said.

Civets, which are closely related to the mongoopse, can live up to 24 years in captivity, therefore anyone keeping one would need to be prepared for that long-term commitment to the animal's care.

The RSPCA urges anyone considering owning an exotic pet species to research the animal's needs thoroughly first to find out how to care for it properly.

To help the RSPCA investigate cases like this text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).