Cape Genet

Cape Genet

South African large-spotted genet

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Genetta tigrina
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
15 yrs
WEIGHT
1.3-2 kg
LENGTH
427-580 mm

The Cape genet is a nocturnal cat-like carnivore native to South Africa. It is ash grey in color with brown irregular spots and a black stripe along the spine. Its muzzle is white, and it has white spots below the eye. Its ears are grey. Its tail is black and white banded with a black tip. Some individuals living in moist areas are darker than individuals from drier areas. Cape genets differ from other genets by a short dorsal crest and poorly spotted hind legs, which are dark at the back.

Distribution

Cape genets occur in South Africa and Lesotho border. They live in moist environments near streams, rivers, and standing water, in lowland and mountain fynbos, where vegetation cover is high. In some areas of their range, they can be found in shrubland, open grasslands, pine plantations, and urban areas.

Cape Genet habitat map

Geography

Continents
Subcontinents

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Cape genets are solitary, and active mostly at night. During the day, they rest in large trees high above the ground, rock overhangs, and caves. They are both terrestrial and arboreal, but hunt and feed on the ground. Cape genets are not territorial animals but they have home ranges that are often defended by males. They communicate with each other by depositing a secretion from their scent gland and regularly mark areas in this way. If disturbed Cape genets may arch their back and erect their fur but if feeling threatened, they will run in nearest cover.

Diet and Nutrition

Cape genets are omnivores. They feed mostly on rodents but also seeds, fruits, leaves, grass, as well as beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, termites, and occasionally birds. They also catch and feed on insects, spiders, scorpions, and scavenge fish on the beach.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
summer
PREGNANCY DURATION
70-77 days
BABY CARRYING
2-3 young
INDEPENDENT AGE
7 months
BABY NAME
baby genet

Cape genets breed during the warm summer months. Females usually make nests in hollow trees, in holes, or among boulders. After the gestation period of 70-77 days, they give birth to 2-3 young which weigh around 70 g at birth. Baby genets open their eyes 10 days after birth and their canine teeth break through at the age of 4 weeks. They are weaned at about 2.5 months and start to hunt on their own when they are 7 months old. Female Cape genets become reproductively mature and start to reproduce at the age of 2 years.

Population

Population threats

Cape genets face no major threats at present. However, as they sometimes kill poultry, they are killed in retaliation by farmers and sometimes become victims of collisions with motor vehicles.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Cape genet total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

Cape genets help control populations of various invertebrates they feed on, and may also disperse seeds throughout their ecosystem.

References

1. Cape Genet on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_genet
2. Cape Genet on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/41702/45219459

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