Where do genets live?
Genets are dispersed throughout Africa and are found across a variety of habitats that have dense vegetation—including woodlands, savannas, and forests.
Tags: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kilimanjaro, Limpopo, Maasai Steppe, Samburu, East Africa, Southern Africa, West/Central Africa
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What is the genet?
The small-spotted genet, found in more arid regions, is recognized by a prominent dorsal crest running from shoulder to tail. Its spots are round and elongated. The forest genet lacks a dorsal crest and has a coat with spaced-out, elongated spots. The large-spotted genet has a smaller dorsal crest than its small-spotted relative and is the most widely distributed of the three species. Genets also have retractable claws adapted to climbing and catching prey.
Genets are opportunistic feeders.
Although classified as a carnivore, the genet is omnivorous and will eat what is most readily available. This can include small mammals—especially rodents, shrews, and bats—birds and their eggs, frogs, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, and various fruits.
They are resourceful and acrobatic.
Genets are considered arboreal and climb trees to hunt birds; however, they also spend much time on the ground hunting prey and taking shelter in escarpments and rocky outcrops. They are able to squeeze their flexible bodies through any opening larger than their heads.
The genet favors a solitary existence.
Adult genets are solitary except during periods of courtship or when young genets accompany their mothers. A female may have up to two litters a year with two to four young in each. Kittens are born in a burrow; their eyes and ears are shut at birth and open after about 10 days. They receive their first solid food at about six weeks, but they continue to nurse for a few weeks longer.
Genets have a foul method of self-expression.
Similar to the civet, the genet produces secretions conveying messages about sexual, social, or territorial behavior. When angry, frightened, or injured, the genet can squirt a foul-smelling substance that deters enemies.