CAPE GENET

 

 

Zulu

 

Kanu

 

Size and Appearance: The Cape Genet, also known as the Large Spotted Genet, has a shoulder height of 8 in, but this species is short legged. The elongated body has a length of 19-24 inches and a weight of 2-7 lbs. The thick, black and whitish-grey ringed tail is 16-21 inches. Claws are short, partially retractable and are an aid to climbing. No sexual dimorphism is obvious. Rows of rusty spots enclosed with black rings cover the brown or tan upperparts. The black rings merge into lines on the neck. The belly is whitish. They have white patches around the mouth, nose and below the eyes.

Genets have 40 teeth. Females have 4 teats, and males have a well-developed baculum. Both the front and hind feet have five digits, with well-furred soles. Their eyes are large and round, and their ears are large and triangular shaped.

The large spotted genet can be confused with the small spotted genet (aka common genet), the difference being the white-tipped tail of the latter compared tot he black-tipped tail of the large-spotted species. Another difference is the entriely black spots of the small-spotted genet, which are without a rusty center. 

In captivity, genets live ±13 years.

Habitat:  They are found in the wetter areas of Southern Africa, usually near water as well as in woodlands.

Distribution: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia. 

Reproduction and Offspring: Normally breeding takes place during the warmer months. The Large-Spotted Genet gives birth to an average of three young per litter after a gestation period of about 70 days. Indications are that the young remain in nests, made above ground, until they are weaned. The young can fend for themselves at an age of roughly 7 or 8 months.

Social System and Communication: Genets are solitary animals but can sometimes be found with others during mating or if a female has young. They are almost never seen in the day as they are lying up in holes, thick bush or other suitable areas. They can squirt a bad smelling scent from their anal glands as a form of defense. They will adapt their diet according to the seasons, taking advantage of the most available food source. Genets have retractable claws

The vocalizations of blotched genets resemble those of cats. They purr, meow, hiss, and "spit".

Hunting and Diet: The bulk of its diet consists of rodents and other small mammals such as insectivores, whereas birds, snakes and amphibians are secondary prey. Invertebrates only make up a small portion of its diet. Will also ingest fruit. It hunts by stalking and then pouncing and kills by repeatedly biting the victim, which it holds with its front claws.

Threats: The large spotted genet is generally left alone. They are considered beneficial to humans, as they kill rodents in agricultural areas. However, they are sometimes caught raiding chicken coops in which case they are often killed.