Small Spotted Genet - also known as Common Genet [Genetta genetta]


The Small-Spotted Genet is slightly smaller than the Large-Spotted Genet, and the markings are more distinct black and white and without a rusty tinge. The tail is white tipped, as opposed to the black tipped tail of the Large-Spotted Genet. Overall body colour is more a dirty white covered with black spots and forming lines from the head to the tail. Along the spine is a crest of erectile long black hairs. It has distinct white patches on the face below the eyes, which is less prominent around the mouth and on the forehead. They have retractile claws. Tails are long and ringed black and white.


The Small-Spotted Genet has a diet which consists mainly of small mammals and insects. Bats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, millipedes, centipedes and scorpions have been recorded as their food source. It would appear to eat less fruit than the Large Spotted Genet.


Two litters are produced per year, respectively of two to three young. The gestation period is between 70-77 days. The ears and eyes of young only open after 5-18 days. Canines erupt within the first month. Young take solid foods only after a few weeks, but continue suckling for several months.


Almost entirely solitary, pairs are seldom seen, probably only during the mating season. Habitat preference tends towards drier woodlands, although it is also found in riverine habitats. It often lies up in trees during the day, but is more commonly found in holes in the ground and in rocky refuges. It is less arboreal than the Large-Spotted Genet.

Where they are found

Although this species appears to have a wide range through most of Southern Africa, within that it has a disjunct occurrence coinciding predominantly with the drier districts or areas of Southern Africa. It is absent from the west coast of Namibia as well as the west and southwest coast of South Africa.

Field Notes

These animals can become very tame around human settlements as in safari lodges where they are known to climb on tables during meal times and take food off the table.




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