Aquatic Genet
Genetta piscivora
Population size
kg lbs 
cm inch 

The aquatic genet (Genetta piscivora ) is a genet that has only been recorded in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since it is only known from about 30 specimens in zoological collections, it had been listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List since 1996, as it is considered one of Africa's rarest carnivores. In 2015, it has been reassessed as Near Threatened.

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When Allen described the aquatic genet as a new genus and species in 1919, he named it Osbornictis piscivora. It was reassessed in 2004, and based on molecular evidence is now considered a Genetta species.

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The Aquatic genet is a small rare carnivore that can be found only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its long and dense fur is dark chestnut red in color without spots or bands. The head is pale fuscous brown with white spots on the sides of the muzzle, and above and below the eyes, which are framed with a narrow black ring. The ears are almost naked inside, edged with long whitish hairs and blackish outside. The bushy tail is black with pale brownish underfur. The soles of its feet are naked.



Biogeographical realms

Aquatic genets have only been recorded east of the Congo River and in the Tshopo District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They have not been recorded with certainty from Uganda and Burundi. Aquatic genets live in evergreen lowland and submontane forests usually near rivers or along streams.

Aquatic Genet habitat map

Climate zones

Aquatic Genet habitat map
Aquatic Genet
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Habits and Lifestyle

Aquatic genets are thought to be solitary and crepuscular. Despite their name, they are not good swimmers and typically hunt their prey from river banks. They detect the movements of the fish with their whiskers or attract the fish by patting the surface of the water with their whiskers. Since Aquatic genets have a poorly developed sense of smell it is suggested that they catch fish by feeling it with their naked soles.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Aquatic genets are carnivores (piscivores) primarily feeding on freshwater fish, including catfish, barbels, squeakers, carps, and also crustaceans.

Mating Habits

baby genet

A pregnant female was collected in December and as of today, nothing else is known about their gestation, reproduction, and development of offspring.


Population threats

It is unclear whether there are any major threats to Aquatic genets. However, they are caught in snare traps set up by Pygmy people in the Ituri Forest.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Aquatic genet is 10,000 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Aquatic genet is considered one of Africa's rarest carnivores.
  • Genets can move their eyes within their sockets to a limited extent and move their heads to focus on moving objects.
  • The ear pinnae of genets have a fine layer of hair inside and outside. They can move the pinnae by about 80° from pointing forward to the side, and also from an erect position to pointing downwards.
  • The nose of genets is constantly wet which is important for both sensing smell and touch.
  • Genets are highly agile, have quick reflexes and exceptional climbing skills. They are the only viverrids (a family of small to medium-sized mammals) able to stand on their hind legs. They walk, trot, run, climb up and down trees, and jump.

Coloring Pages


1. Aquatic Genet on Wikipedia -
2. Aquatic Genet on The IUCN Red List site -

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