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Large-spotted genet (Genetta tigrina)

27 January 2016



Physical description

Spot size differs from area to area, nevertheless, it is larger than those of the small-spotted genet and differ in colour from almost black with variable sprinkling of rusty-coloured hair to individuals in which the spots are almost overall rusty. The darker bands on the tail normally follow the colour of the spots on the back but may at times be almost totally black, while the eight to nine paler bands follow the off-white to greyish-white ground colour of the upper parts. The tip of the tail is black as opposed to white in the small-spotted genet and the face markings are similar to but not as contrasting as in the small-spotted genet. There is no dorsal crest and black (melanistic) large-spotted genets are known.




Area and habitat


Although the taxonomy of the genets is far from clear, there appears to be 14 species of genet in Africa and Eurasia, but mostly in Africa. In South Africa there may be two subspecies Genetta tigrina tigrina and Genetta tigrina rubiginosus. In distribution in South Africa it occurs along the southern and easter Cape costs, deeper into KwaZulu-Natal and almost over the entire northern part.

The habitat of choice for the large-spotted genet is fynbos and savannas in areas with more than 450 mm of rainval per year. It rests in holes in trees; in hollows under the roots of trees; in hollow logs; in disused aardvark and springhare burrows; under loose piles of rock; under rocky overhangs in caves, and on rooftops of buildings.




Is solitary and nocturnal but its activity ceases a few hours after midnight.


Gestation 70-77 days. Young accompany mother for a few hours per night and are weaned at 2.5 months.


Little information available regarding predators, however, humans are known to shoot genets on poultry farms.


Stalking prey and pouncing to kill it. Principle food is mice, insects; reptiles and wild fruits are also consumed.


Weight: 2 kg
Body length: 50 cm
Tail length: 45 cm

Read the full article written by Prof J du P Bothma.



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