The common or European genet is native to northern Africa and has also spread to Europe.
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); ethiopian (Native )
For Europe, Delibes (1999) lists this species as occurring in all of continental Portugal and Spain, and most of France (mainly south of Loire River and west of the Rhone River). It is also found on the Mediterranean islands of Majora, Ibiza, and Cabrera (Balearic Islands) (Delibes 1999). There are also scattered records from Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and north-west Italy (Delibes 1999). This species is generally considered to have been introduced to Europe and the Balearic islands (Delibes 1999). It has been recorded to 2,600 m in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco (Cuzin 2003) and at least 3,000 m asl in the Ethiopian Highlands (Admasu et al. 2004)
Distribution in Egypt
Localized (south-west and south-east Eastern Desert).
Genets are long, lean carnivores with a tail usually at least as long as the body. They appear catlike, except for their longer faces. They usually have a dark spotted or marbling pattern over a cream to buff colored background. Their fur is incredibly soft. They have semi-retractable claws. They are extremely flexible and can enter very small spaces.
Range mass: 1 to 3 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Common genets prefer drier areas than other members of the genus. They prefer forests, as they are excellent and agile climbers.
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; scrub forest
Habitat and Ecology
Genets are carnivorous and eat most small animals that they can catch, such as rats, mice, insects, small reptiles, and birds.
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 21.6 years.
Status: captivity: 14.0 years.
Status: captivity: 13.0 years.
Status: captivity: 34.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Genet females come into heat during the wet season(s). Copulation, which follows a foreplay lasting up to an hour, takes only five minutes, during which both the male and the female utter "meows." Gestation is usually 10-11 weeks long, and the female usually gives birth to one to three kittens. Young are born blind and helpless. They are weaned around eight weeks, though they take small amounts of solid food before that. Kits are sexually mature at two years.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average birth mass: 77.75 g.
Average gestation period: 78 days.
Average number of offspring: 2.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 1479 days.
The common genet is still plentiful throughout its range and seems to have little to fear in the future.
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Status in Egypt
Native, resident ?
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Genets occasionally consume game birds and poultry, but hardly do enough damage to be considered a threat to either.
Genets help keep vermin populations down, and since they often live on the edges of a human community, this helps alleviate pest problems with crops.
The common genet (Genetta genetta), also known as the small-spotted genet or European genet, is a mammal from the order Carnivora, related to civets and linsangs. The most far-ranging of all the fourteen species of genet, it can be found throughout Africa, parts of the Middle East, and in Europe in Spain, Portugal, the Balearic Islands, and parts of France. Small populations exist that may have escaped from captivity in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
A secretive, nocturnal species, the common genet inhabits rocky terrain with caves, dense scrub land, pine forests, and marshland. This handsome, feline-looking animal, has a pale grey and black spotted coat, with a long striped tail. Like all genets, it has a small head, large ears and eyes, and short legs with retractable claws. Males are larger than females, and juveniles are darker grey.
The common genet has a varied diet, that consists of small mammals, lizards, birds, amphibians, insects and even fruit. The wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) is a favourite prey, but genets from the Balearics live chiefly on lizards. As genets are expert climbers, they also prey on red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and dormice (Eliomys quercinus). Genets kill with a bite to the neck, like cats.
Interactions with humans
This species is sometimes kept as an exotic pet in the U.S.A. and Asia.
Common genets are often kept around because they aid in keeping vermin populations in check, especially in areas where crops can be negatively affected by pests. Common genets sometimes eat poultry and game birds; however, most humans do not consider genets to be a threat. Common genets are also currently in no danger of becoming endangered, as they are listed under least concern on the Red List.
As many as 30 subspecies of the common genet have been named, and many are under debate as to their validity. They include:
- Genetta genetta afra (North Africa)
- Genetta genetta balearica (Majorca, Balearic Islands)
- Genetta genetta felina
- Genetta genetta genetta
- Genetta genetta granti (Southwest Arabia)
- Genetta genetta hintoni
- Genetta genetta isabelae (Spain, Ibiza)
- Genetta genetta pulchra
- Genetta genetta pyrenaica (Pyrenees, France)
- Genetta genetta rhodanica
- Genetta genetta terraesanctae (Israel)
- Genetta genetta senegalensis (Spain, Sudan)
- Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). "Genetta genetta". Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Herrero, J. & Cavallini, P. (2008). Genetta genetta. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 June 2010. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- Lundrigan, B. and M. Conley. 2000. "Genetta genetta" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed 3 December 2011 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Genetta_genetta.html.
- Estes, R. 1991. The behavior guide to African mammals. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Ewer, R. 1973. The carnivores. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
- Dereure J. et al. (2003). "Visceral leishmaniasis in eastern Sudan: parasite identification in humans and dogs; host-parasite relationships". Microbes and Infection 5 (12): 1103–8. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2003.07.003. PMID 14554251.
- Morrison, Paul (1994). Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibians of Britain and Europe. MacMillan. pp. 132–133 ISBN 0-333-62998-1.
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