Overview

Distribution

The common or European genet is native to northern Africa and has also spread to Europe.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); ethiopian (Native )

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Range Description

Widespread species, occurring on the northern Saharan fringe (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lybia), and then in open and dry savanna zones throughout sub-Saharan Africa in three large blocks, corresponding roughly to West Africa, East Africa and southern Africa (Delibes and Gaubert in press). Also occurs in coastal regions of Arabia, Yemen and Oman (Harrison and Bates 1991); records from Palestine are in error (Kock 1983).

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)
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Distribution in Egypt

Localized (south-west and south-east Eastern Desert).

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Physical Description

Morphology

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

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Ecology

Habitat

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

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The Common Genet tends to prefer all types of wooded habitats (deciduous and evergreen), where it is often associated with rivers and brooks, but it is a generalist and can be found in other habitats where there is suitable prey. It avoids open habitats, but may occur even in small fragments of woodland in farmland or near villages, and usually is absent from rainforests, dense woodlands and woodland-moist savanna mosaics (e.g., miombo woodland in Angola) (Delibes and Gaubert in press). The Common Genet is not uncommonly found in proximity to people and human buildings (e.g., Admasu et al. 2004). It feeds mainly on small mammals, but will also take birds, other small vertebrates, insects, and fruit (Delibes and Gaubert in press).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

Genets are carnivorous and eat most small animals that they can catch, such as rats, mice, insects, small reptiles, and birds.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
21.6 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
14.0 years.

Average lifespan

Sex: female

Status: captivity:
13.0 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
34.0 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 22.7 years (captivity) Observations: They appear to attain adult weight at about 2 years of age. One captive female was sexually mature at 4 years of age (Ronald Nowak 1999), but anecdotal reports suggest they may become sexually mature at earlier ages. In captivity, one male was at least 22.7 years old when he died (Richard Weigl 2005). There is one report suggesting they may live up to 34 years (David Macdonald 1985), which is unlikely.
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Reproduction

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.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

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

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Herrero, J. & Cavallini, P.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) and Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern as they have a wide distribution on the African continent and extralimitally, have a very broad habitat tolerance, and are present in numerous protected areas.
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Status in Egypt

Native, resident ?

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Population

Population
One of the most common small carnivores in its native range, though detailed data on density in Africa are scarce; in Serengeti, Waser (1980) estimated a density of 1.5 + 0.37 individuals per km². In Europe, this species is moderately abundant, with increasing populations in France, and densities of 0.3 to 0.7 individuals per square kilometer in Spain (Delibes 1999). The genet is common in suitable habitat throughout the Iberian peninsula (Palomo and Gisbert 2002), where populations are either stable or slowly increasing (J. Herrero pers. comm.). On Ibiza, habitat is declining and becoming more fragmented, thus this species is suspected to be declining.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats. They are occasionally eaten by people in some localities, and body parts are used for medicinal purposes while skins may be used for the manufacture of karosses in southern Africa (Delibes and Gaubert in press); in North Africa too the species is hunted for its fur for decorative purposes (Cuzin 2003). In Europe, the genet used to be trapped for its fur (Delibes 1999). In Portugal genets are illegally killed in predator trapping for hunting management. On Ibiza, the genet is threatened by the loss and fragmentation of habitat caused by urbanization and infrastructure and tourism development. The ability of genets to live close to humans and their domestic animals could have implications for disease transmission (Admasu et al. 2004).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is present in many protected areas across its range. This species is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention, as well as EU Habitats and Species Directive, Annex V (Delibes 1999). Protected by national law in some range states (e.g. Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Genets occasionally consume game birds and poultry, but hardly do enough damage to be considered a threat to either.

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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.

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Wikipedia

Common genet

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.[2]

Description[edit]

This handsome[citation needed], feline-looking animal, has a pale grey and black spotted coat, with a long striped tail. Juveniles are darker grey.[citation needed]

Common genets have a slender, cat-like body, 43 to 55 cm (17 to 22 in) in length, and a tail measuring 33 to 52 cm (13 to 20 in). Males, with an average weight of 2 kilograms (4.4 lb), are about 10% larger than females. The legs are short, with cat-like feet and semi-retractile claws. They have a small head with a pointed muzzle, large oval ears, large eyes, and well-developed whiskers up to 7 cm (2.8 in) in length.[3]

The fur is dense and soft, and the coat is pale grey, with numerous black markings. The back and flanks are marked with about five rows of black spots, and a long black stripe runs along the middle of the back from the shoulders to the rump. There is also a black stripe on the forehead, and dark patches beneath the eyes, which are offset against the white fur of the chin and throat. The tail is striped, with anything from eight to thirteen rings along its length.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Common genets inhabit a range of different habitats, but are commonly found where there is plentiful shelter such as rocky terrain with caves, dense scrub land, and pine, oak, or ash forests. They are rare in more open areas, such as marshes or agricultural land. In Europe, they are found in southern France, Iberia, and the Balearic Islands. In Africa, they are found along the western Mediterranean coast, and in a broad band from Senegal and Mauritania in the west to Somalia and Tanzania in the east. A second, discontinuous, population is found in southern Africa, as far north as southern Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.[2]

Behaviour and diet[edit]

Common genets are secretive and nocturnal. They rest during the day in hollow trees or among thickets, and frequently re-use the same resting sites. They are solitary animals, with each individual occupying a home range of about 8 km2 (3.1 sq mi). The ranges of males and females overlap, but those of members of the same sex do not.[4]

Females mark their territory using scent glands on their flanks, hind legs, and perineum. Males mark less frequently than females, often spraying urine, rather than using their scent glands, and do so primarily during the breeding season. Scent marks by both sexes allow individuals to identify the reproductive and social status of other genets. Common genets also defecate at specific latrine sites, which are often located at the edge of their territories, and perform a similar function to other scent marks.[3]

Common genets have a varied diet, that consists of small mammals, lizards, birds, amphibians, insects and even fruit. The wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) is a favourite prey item,[5] but genets from the Balearics live chiefly on lizards.[citation needed] As genets are expert climbers, they also prey on red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and dormice (Eliomys quercinus).[citation needed] Genets locate their prey primarily by scent, and kill with a bite to the neck, like cats.[3]

Common genets have five distinct calls. The "hiccup" call is used to indicate friendly interactions, such as between a mother and her young, or between males and females prior to mating. Conversely, clicks, or, in younger individuals, growls, are used to indicate aggression. The remaining two calls, a "mew" and a purr, are used only by young still dependant on their mother.[3]

Reproduction[edit]

Breeding occurs between January and September, but is most common in February and March. Mating lasts about two to three minutes, typically being repeated several times over the course of the night. Gestation lasts ten to eleven weeks, and results in the birth of a litter of up to four young. Before birth, the mother creates a den in a hollow tree or rock crevice, where the young will remain for about the first 45 days of their life. Newborn common genets weigh 60 to 85 g (2.1 to 3.0 oz). They start eating meat at around seven weeks, but are not fully weaned for up to four months. They reach sexual maturity at two years of age, and have lived up to 13 years in captivity.[3]

Interactions with humans[edit]

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.[6] Common genets sometimes eat poultry and game birds; however, most humans do not consider genets to be a threat.[6] Common genets are also currently at no risk of becoming endangered, and are listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.[2]

Classification[edit]

Along with other viverrids, genets are, among living Carnivorans, considered to be the morphologically closest to the extinct common ancestor of the whole order.[7][8]

Subspecies[edit]

As many as 30 subspecies of the common genet have been named, many with debatable validity. They include:[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b c d 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.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Larivière, S. & Calzada, J. (2001). "Genetta genetta". Mammalian Species: Number 680: pp. 1–6. doi:10.1644/1545-1410(2001)680<0001:GG>2.0.CO;2. 
  4. ^ Palomares, F. & Delibes, M. (1994). "Spatio-temporal ecology and behavior of European genets in southwestern Spain". Journal of Mammalogy 75 (3): 714–724. doi:10.2307/1382521. 
  5. ^ Virgós, E., et al. (1999). "Geographical variation in genet (Genetta genetta L.) diet: a literature review". Mammal Review 29 (2): 117–126. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2907.1999.00041.x. 
  6. ^ a b 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.
  7. ^ Estes, R. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  8. ^ Ewer, R. 1973. The Carnivores. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  9. ^ 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. 
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