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Genet Baby
Genet Baby

Genet Habits

The genet has adapted to a variety of habitats within its range. It can live in semi-desert, forest, scrubland, grassland, and savannah. During the day the genet sleeps in hollow trees or crevices. Its spotted fur provides good camouflage, so that it blends in wit the surroundings. Active by night, the genet seems to return to the same lair near dawn everyday.

Genet Communication

There are many parallels between the vocal repertoire of genets and cats; both purr, ‘meow’, hiss and ‘spit’ in similar situations. Genets also make ‘churring’ and ‘yapping’ noises in stressful situations. In a number of viverrid species a ‘lost call’ vocalization has been described; young of a litter show a strong propensity to stay together, and if one kitten becomes separated from the others it emits a series of abrupt calls, causing its littermates to run to its location.
Genets have sebaceous anal glands that secrete a substance with a musky odour. Male genets perform handstands while spreading anal secretions on vertical surfaces, and the odor often indicates points where they have urinated. The behavioral role of this scent marking is poorly understood in genets, however, in small-spotted genets marking behavior may permit recognition of conspecifics and their physiological state (e.g., female in estrus) using olfactory cues. Male small-spotted genets can distinguish pregnant and non-pregnant females by olfaction of secretions from the flank glands, which appear to be under hormonal control. Unfortunately, the structure and use of these flank glands is not well understood in genets.

Genet Breeding

The male and female genet come together only to mate. Although most pairs mate when seasonal rains occur, those living in temperate ranges mate year-round. More prey is available after the rains, which means that food is plentiful for the newborn.
Genet In southern parts of the genet's range, the female may bear two litters a year. The female makes a nest in a hollow tree or among rocks, and the young are born there. They are blind at birth but open their eyes after 5 to 12 days. Their mother provides solid food for them at two months of age. The female is fiercely protective of her young . At nine months the young can hunt for themselves, but they are not fully grown until they are two years old. They become sexually mature at four years of age.

Genet Food & Feeding

The genet is primarily a carnivore (meat eater). It eats most small animals, including rodents, birds, and insects. It hunts at night, with nocturnal moths and beetles being common prey. The genet emerges from its lair at dusk to hunt. It moves stealthily, keeping, low to the ground, with its tail stuck straight out behind. The genet stalks its prey in much the same way that a domestic cat does. It first crouches, with its belly flattened on the ground. As the animal pounces on its prey, the hairs on its bushy tail stand erect, and the genet begins to purr loudly. A skillful climber, the genet often scales trees to catch nesting roosting birds. In summer, when fruit is abundant, the genet adds pears and figs to its regular diet. It returns to familiar hunting grounds at about the same time each year.

Genet Key Facts

              Height: Head and body, 16-24 in. Tail, 15-21 in
              Weight: 2-6 pounds
             Sexual maturity: 4 years
             Mating: Year-round. Sometimes 2 litters produced in a single year
             Gestation: 10-11 weeks
             Number of young: 1-4, usually 2-3
            Habit: Generally solitary, occasionally seen in pairs
            Diet: Small rodents, birds insects and some fruit
            Lifespan: 5-15 Years



  • One rare breed of African genet has rarely been seen in the wild. Almost all that is known about it is based on examination of skin collected by pygmy hunters.
  • The slender and loosely jointed body of a genet enables it to squeeze through any opening its head fits through.
  • Studies of the genet in captivity show that it uses a combination of touch, smell, hearing, memory, and eyesight to find its way at night.
  • There are 10 species of genet grouped in 3 genera. Civets and mongooses belong to the same family. The common genet is the only species found outside Africa.
  • The genet like the weasel, was once domesticated in Europe to control plagues of rodents.

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