Where do genets live?
They are dispersed throughout Africa and are found across a variety of habitats that have dense vegetation — including woodlands, savannas, forests, and sometimes farmland or near villages — but avoid open habitats. They tend to prefer all types of wooded habitats (deciduous and evergreen) where it is associated with rivers.
Tags: Genet, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kilimanjaro, Limpopo, Maasai Steppe, Samburu, East Africa, Southern Africa
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What is the genet?
Genets are long, lean carnivores that appear catlike with a tail usually as long as (if not longer than) the body. There are approximately 14 species identified all of which vary in appearance and habitat. 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. All species have retractable claws adapted to climbing and catching prey.
Genets are opportunistic feeders.
Although classified as a carnivore, they are 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.
They 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 can squeeze their flexible bodies through any opening larger than their heads. They are also nocturnal and stealthy hunters. Much like cats, they kill with a quick bite to the neck.
The genet favors a solitary existence.
All adults 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 ten 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, they produce secretions conveying messages about sexual, social, or territorial behavior. When angry, frightened, or injured, they can squirt a foul-smelling substance that deters enemies.