Range and Habitat
The large spotted genet lives in Africa south of 20º N latitude, from Senegal to Somalia, and south to Namibia and South Africa, but absent from the southwestern arid zone. They are found in a broad variety of habitats, from woodlands to grasslands, although they are more commonly found in wooded areas.
The large spotted genet is siimilar to the common genet in appearance. The genet has fur that is yellowish to greyish in color, with rust-colored and black rosette spots on its body and black and white rings on its tail. A dorsal black stripe runs along the back from the head to the tail. It has a black muzzle, with white around the eyes and mouth. Genets from the drier areas of South Africa have lighter colors and less stark patters, while those in moister habitats have more vibrant colors and patterns. Melanistic individuals also exist.
Their claws are semi-retractable. Their body is long and lean, set on short legs. They can erect a mane of hair along their back when frightened. Like all viverrids, they have well-developed perineal glands used to mark territory. Genets have 40 teeth. Females have 4 teats, and males have a well-developed baculum. Both the front and hind feet have five digits, with well-furred soles. Their eyes are large and round, and their ears are large and triangular shaped.
Large spotted genets are solitary and nocturnal. Males and females only come together to mate. Genets are arboreal, and spend large amounts of time in trees. They rest in nests in the trees during the daytime. They hunt in the trees as well, and can jump from one tree to another over a good distance. They kill their prey by holding it with their paws and biting it. Genets make sounds like cats, including growling, hissing, mewing, and even purring. They release a musky odor from their anal scent glands when stressed.