As an ecologist I’ve seen a whole load of cool animals (as well as heard a lot more mentioned) and decided to share such wisdom with you guys. Feel free to comment, request an animal for the next issue or contradict me (with a valid reason) of course. Hope you guys enjoy.
Issue #1 – Common Genet
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Mammalia
Order – Carnivroia
Family - Viverridae
Genus – Genetta
Species – genetta
Related Species – All Genets, Civets and the Binturong (Bear Dog)
Genets. What are They?, What do they eat? And can I keep one?
Genets despite their cat like appearance are from a separate family of similar animals that act as small predators in their native range. Averaging 80cm long the Common Genet with half the body length consisting of the animal’s tail, wild individuals usually weigh between 1 to 3kg (1). The animal supports a black spotted coat on a grey background that aids the genet in breaking up its appearance especially at night when the creature is most active.
Across its range (both natural and introduced) the Common Genet is a hunter of small game and will take; small mammals, birds and their eggs, reptiles and large invertebrates. Across the European population preferred prey is the Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus (2)) which is often found in the same scrub forest habitat as the Common Genet. In Europe predators consist of only a handful of species; predominantly foxes and owls although the African population is predated on by pythons, eagles, wild dogs and big cats.
Genets make a wide range of vocalisation despite being solitary (the adults only come together to mate) including hiccups, purrs, meowing, snarls and clicks. Gestation period in the female lasts around ten weeks and up to four kits may be born. The young are able to see at ten days and are weaned onto solid food at seven weeks and emerge from the den at around the same time. The Common Genet reaches sexual maturity at about two years and can live up to eight years in the wild.
While unadvised Common Genets can be domesticated, and can legally be kept in the US and much of Asia as pets (other countries consider them a dangerous animal and as such you would have to request a permit (3)). Tame Genets will happily eat cat or ferret food although obviously any small pets are likely to be taken for food as well. A word of warning if you plan to keep one of these animals; captive genets bond with one particular member of the family and will revert to a wild state if given away. Since genets can live over thirteen years in captivity this behaviour is something that must be taken into account if you want to own one.
Five Fun Genet Facts
- Nobody knows where the name Genet comes from; some speculate it comes from the Greek words gen (bear) and etta (little)
- Genets are well known escape artists, having a body narrower then it’s head means that if a Genet can squeeze it’s head through a gap the rest of the body will follow
- Genets are the only member of the Viverridae family that can stand in a bipedal stance
- Genets make latrines in the highest place they can find with scat even found in active eagle nests
- Genets are considered the most primitive members of the Carnivoria Family. It’s speculated the ancestors of all modern carnivores (cats, dogs, bears, seals, weasels and badgers) looked similar to modern day Genets
(1) - www.arkive.org
(3) - Woolas. P (2007). The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) (No.2) Order 2007. Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
 - http://www.zoochat.com/836/common-genet-genetta-genetta-96596/ (Jana)
 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Common_Genet_area
 - Butynski. T; Jong. Y (2013) The Creatures of Kenya’s Forgotten Loima,
 - http://www.warrenphotographic.co.uk/05072-common-genet
Hope you guys enjoyed the insight into this adorable creature. Drop me a comment with an animal you want explored in the next issue.