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All About the Genet
The Various Species of the Genet
Though only distantly related to cats, the Genet is a beautiful cat-like creature that is as playful as a kitten! On this page you'll find information on a Genet's habitat, coloration, diet, behavior, and what they are like as pets!
The Genet is a member of the Carnivora Order and is closely related to Civets and Lingsangs. The Genet (the "G" takes the "J" sound like Jenet) is very cat-like with many feline qualities, but is only distantly related to the cat. Most Genets are spotted with ringed tails. They have musk glands like the civet, which is used to mark territory. The Genet has a pointed snout with long whiskers, short legs, large erect ears and long body. The coat of the Genet can be a variety of browns or grey with darker spots, or a solid black, which is called melanistic.
The Common Genet is also called the Small Spotted Genet, because of the small spots compared to the Large Spotted Genet. This Genet has expanded it's range to include Europe, hence the European Genet name. The Genet was first introduced to Europe as pets to keep the rodent population down.
The Common Genet inhabits the largest range of all the species of Genet. The Common Genet is the most popular of the species.
Besides having smaller spots, another difference between the Common (Small Spotted) and Large Spotted Genet is that the Common Genet has a white tipped tail, while the Large Spotted Genet has a black tipped tail.
The Large Spotted Genet is also sometimes called the Rusty Spotted Genet because of it's characteristic rust colored base coat. The Large Spotted Genet has large dark spots, and are not known to be sometimes melanistic (solid black) like the Common Genet. The Large Spotted Genet is found mostly in Africa, except where kept as pets.
The habitat of the Large Spotted Genet has an effect on the coat of the animal. Namely, the moister the area, the darker and more contrasting the color; while the drier the area, the lighter and less contrasting the color. This aids in camouflage, allowing the Genet to more adequately blend in with it's natural surroundings.
There is an ongoing debate concerning the Rusty Spotted Genet. Some believe they are a different species from the Large Spotted Genet, and should be classified as such.
The Genet will eat whatever it can find in the wild. They normally eat rodents, birds, bats, eggs, insects, even scorpions! They also have a taste for fruit. Because of human settlements moving into the Genet territory, the Genet has been known to prey on the hens and turkeys raised by these humans.
The Genet has a habit of just eating part of their prey, leaving the rest behind.
Cute Genet Clip by National Geographic
The Genet are nocturnal, but can be seen the daytime hours during the rainy season. They climb the trees for birds and eggs, but also hunt on the ground. The Genet can fit through anything they can get their head through, which is bad news for the burrowing rodents and other prey. The Genet are usually solitary, and do not gather with others of their species except for mating.
The Genet are easily startled and are cautious by nature. It is nearly impossible to restrain a Genet. the Genet is also a very clean animal and will groom themselves like a cat. They also make cat-like noises such as purrs, hisses, and meows, among other noises. The Genet has retractable claws, but rarely sees them for defense. Instead, they are used for tree climbing and to hold down prey.
A Pet Genet
Sometimes, the Genet is kept as a household pet. This should only be done if you have the permission to do so, because they are still considered wild or exotic animals. If considering the Genet, make sure you have the space for one. As a cat-like creature, the Genet needs a lot of room to roam. The need a structure to climb, preferably an actual enclosed tree. Their pen must include a completely covered top to prevent escape, and must be very large. Do not put this poor wild creature in a small kennel-like enclosure. They need a LOT of space! You must also make sure you have access to a Veterinarian who is experienced with exotic pets, and can address their specific issues. Do not get a Genet for bragging rights only, you must truly love the animal, and want to do what is best for this beautiful creature.
A pet Genet can eat catfood, and it is good to occasionally include poultry and fruit, as that is what they would occasionally consume in the wild. When your Genet spends time in his LARGE enclosure outside, it will be able to look for insects.
A Genet is very independent and can be easily startled. They do not usually bond with a group, but only a few people. They are extremely agile, and will escape if given the chance! A Genet will can also withdraw from someone they formerly bonded with, if left alone for days at a time. The Genet also has sharp claws, and may scratch you out of defense, or even accidentally, however, it is inhumane to de-claw the Genet unless you are 100% positive they will not escape your protection, or come in contact with a vicious animal, (like the unrestrained neighborhood dog).
Want to know what it's like to own an exotic pet? Check out this Yahoo Group.