Genets are unusual looking creatures from central, eastern Africa. Resembling a cross between a mongoose and a small leopard, the Genet possess a spotted coat like the leopard but the small, sleek body of the mongoose.
The Genets belong to the larger family ,viveridea, which actually is part of the large mongoose family.
Occasionally called civets, these adept hunters are quite at home in virtually all habitats.
There are two widely recognized sub-species, the small spotted and the large spotted Genet.
Range: Central Eastern Africa.
Habitat: Depending on the species the Genet can be found in a variety of habitats including arid to semi-arid regions as well as forested areas. The small spotted Genet is most often associated with arid regions while the large spotted Genet is considered to be tolerant of most habitats including the densely forested regions of eastern Africa.
As is the case with most African wildlife the former range of this somewhat secretive species is not fully understood. It is assumed that today's range is substantially smaller than previous distribution.
A positive note is the apparent tolerance of the Genet to human habitation, it may be the poultry farming or other similar food production by people that draws the animals in. This tolerance of human habitation may help the animals in the future as developing farm lands continue to spread throughout much of Africa.
Certain species of animals have the ability to actually expand their range as humans encroach into wild habitats. The expansion to take advantage of human habitation generally coincides with a reduction in natural predators as well as an increase in the ability to find food and water.
Rain Forest Facts: The Genet has a scent gland that can be described as being "skunk like" in that when an animal is injured or startled it can release an unpleasant odor that can have a similar result to the more powerful skunk's scent glands.
The Genet is often described as "cat like" by casual observers, this is an interesting observation as the Genet has retractable claws, can actually meow and at a quick glance may appear cat like, the Genet however is not related in any way to the felines.
Natural Diet: Omnivorous, the Genet will consume primarily small rodents and small birds, but has been known to eat certain types of vegetation.
Diet at Rain Forest: Pre-killed frozen mice as well as high protein cat food.
Size: 2-4 pounds, approximately 24 inches in length from tip to tail.
Status in Wild: Not Threatened, expatriated from certain parts of it's range.