|At a Glance|
|Size||18 – 25cm to shoulder|
|Mass||1.5 – 2.5kg|
|Lifespan||Uncertain – probably 5 - 8 years|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
The Genet is a small cat-like creature but is not in any way related to cats. Their bodies are long and slender. They have short legs and long tails. They stand around 18-25cm in height at the shoulder and have a body length of 80-110cm plus a tail length of 40-50cm. Their faces are characterised by their fairly long snouts. Their coat is spotted and they have alternating dark and light rings around their tails.
Large-spotted genets are nocturnal and lie up and remain hidden during the day. They are good climbers and well adapted to an arboreal way of life but also spend time foraging on the ground. Normally solitary they are occasionally seen in pairs. Genets are carnivores although insects and fruit are a regular part of their diet. Excellent eyesight and their agility make them highly effective predators. They combine speed and stealth, stalking their prey in a series of dashes broken by short pauses. When stressed they emit a strong musky odour from their anal glands and this smell often indicates where they have urinated.
The bulk of their 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.
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.
Eastern areas of southern Africa and into the south-western Cape to Cape Town. It is widely distributed throughout the rest of Africa. Inhabits savanna woodland, and fynbos in the Western Cape.
Well wooded and watered areas are preferred habitats, particularly forests and closed woodlands. Some dense vegetation for shelter and close proximity to water are essential habitat requirements.
As they spend much time in trees they are not vulnerable to predators but they have been recorded as prey of the Crowned Eagles.
In Kloof they are sometimes run over by vehicles or killed by domestic dogs
Large Spotted Genets have adapted remarkably well to urbanisation and are often seen in Kloof gardens and even in roofs where they enjoy the warmth of water geysers!
The term “large” in the name refers to the size of the spots and not the size of the animal – this is to distinguish it from the “small spotted” genet
Both species are of a similar size and the name refers to the size of the spots and not the size of the animals. The spots on the Small-spotted genet are slightly smaller and are totally black while on the Large-spotted Genet there is a rusty coloured centre in each spot. Another more noticeable difference is that the Large-spotted genet has a black tipped tail while the Small-spotted Genet has a white tipped tail.
Only the Large Spotted Genet is found in the Durban area.
A video clip is available on YouTube.