Canidae: Dog FamilyEupleridae: Malagasy CarnivoresFelidae: Cat FamilyHerpestidae: Mongoose familyHyaenidae: HyenasMephetidae: Skunk FamilyMustelidae: Otters, Badgers, WeaselsProcyonidae: Raccoons, Olingos, CoatimundiUrsidae: BearsViverridae: Weasles and Genets
Lioncrusher's Domain > Viverridae > Common Genet

Range of the Common Genet (Genetta genetta)
 First Described By
   Linnaeus, 1758

  Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Chordata
  Class: Mammalia
  Order: Carnivora
  Family: Viverridae
  Subfamily: Viverrinae
  Genus: Genetta
  Species: genetta

 Physical Attributes
  Shoulder Height:
  Head and Body Length:
       19-24 in. (49-60 cm)
  Tail Length:
       16-21 in. (42-54 cm)
       2-7 lb. (1-3 kg)

 Life Information
  Gestation: 56-77 days
  Litter size: 2-3
  Age at sexual maturity:
      Male: ?
      Female: ?
  Life Span: 13 years

IUCN: Least Concern (most subspecies)

 Also Known As
  Small Spotted Genet

Common Genet
(Genetta genetta)

Common Genet (Genetta genetta)
Range and Habitat

The common genet is the most widespread species of genet. They can be found all over Europe and Africa, in the countries of France, Spain, Portugal, Balearic Islands, southwestern Arabian Peninsula, and in northwestern Africa and in savannah south of the Sahara. They prefer drier areas than other genet species, and live in forested areas.

Physical Appearance

The genet has fur that is yellowish to grey in color, with small spots on its body and stripes on its 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.


Genets have a wide variety in diet, and tend to be carnivorous to omnivorous. They have been known to feed on fruits, small rodents, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

The common genet can breed year round, but usually only come into heat heat during the wet season or around the time when food will be shortly available. Copulation lasts only five minutes, which follows foreplay that can last an hour. During copulation, both genets meow. After a gestation period of 10-11 weeks, 1-3 kittens are born. They are weaned at 8 weeks, and sexually mature at two years.

Social Behavior

The genets are primarily solitary and nocturnal. Territories of genets of the opposite sex may overlap, but same sex territories do not. Genets make sounds like cats, including purring, hissing, mewing, and growling. They excrete a musky odor from their scent glands when scared.


They are preyed upon by owls, leopards and pythons. Although the common genet is not threatened, one subspecies, Genetta genetta isabelae, found in Spain, is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.


Several subspecies of the common genet have been described, although the validity of many of these subspecies is still questionable. Subspecies information from Funet.
  • Genetta genetta afra -- North Africa
  • Genetta genetta balearica -- Majorca, Balearic Is.
  • Genetta genetta granti -- Southwest Arabia
  • Genetta genetta isabelae -- Spain
  • Genetta genetta pyrenaica -- Pyrenees France
  • Genetta genetta terraesanctae -- Palestine
  • Genetta genetta senegalensis -- Spain

  • Genet (view)
  • Genet eating (view)
  • Genet mother and baby (view)
  Online References

� Lioncrusher/Rebecca Postanowicz, 2007.

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