Large spotted Genet - Genetta tigrina

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African Civet - Civettictis civetta | Large spotted Genet - Genetta tigrina | Small spotted Genet - Genetta genetta | Selous' Mongoose - Paracynictis selousi | Yellow Mongoose - Cynictis penicillata | Small Grey Mongoose - Galerella pulverulenta | White-tailed Mongoose - Ichneumia albicauda | Water Mongoose - Atilax paludinosus | Large Grey Mongoose - Herpestes ichneumon | Slender Mongoose - Galerella sanguinea | Banded Mongoose - Mungos mungo | Dwarf Mongoose - Helogale parvula | Suricate - Suricata suricatta


Afrikaans Grootkolmuskeljaatkat
Tswana Tshipa 
Nsimba Shona Tsimba

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3 cm

Distribution Dung
Deposited at conspicuous latrine sites
Contains insect fragments and small mammal remains

Unusual features/differences from similar animals

There are large dark brown to black spots on the back. The small-spotted genet has small spots. The tip of the tail is black whereas the small-spotted genet has a white-tipped tail. The chin is white but is dark brown to black in small-spotted genet. The legs are white or cream whereas the small-spotted genet has black legs. The middle of the back has a strip of long, black hair that the genet can erect when alarmed, smaller that the crest of of a small-spotted genet. The shape and locations of the spots are like fingerprints, uniquely identifying each animal.

Visible Male/Female Differences

Males are slightly larger than females. Females have two pairs of nipples on the belly.

Habitat and Distribution

The large-spotted genet prefers dense forest close to water.


Eats insects, small mammals, birds, frogs and fruit. Often raids poultry pens at night.


Up to 5 kittens are born  in a hole or leaf nest during August-March after a gestation of 70 days. Their eyes open at 10 days. Kittens take solid food at 6 weeks and hunts at 11-18 weeks. At 6 months they catch and kill for themselves. They are fully-grown with adult teeth at 1 year.

Behavior and Habits

It is active only at night and hides in a shelter during the day. The large-spotted genet is most active about two hours after sunset to 1am. It is an accomplished climber but will forage and hunt on the ground. Territory is scent-marked with anal gland secretion which remains smelly for a long time. When hunting, it uses a typical cat-like stalk with a pounce and kill-bite to the neck. Forages on the ground but is a very agile climber and climbs into trees when threatened. Hunts employing classical feline stalk, rushing and pouncing.  Home ranges are 50-100 ha. Scent marks with urine and anal gland secretion, which has a musky odour. 


Seven vocal signals are used including coughs, hisses purrs and growls.

Dung and Field sign

Droppings are normally cylindrical and can be up to 5 cm long and 1 cm thick and contains insect fragments and small mammal remains. Droppings are deposited at conspicuous latrine sites. Scent-marks emit a musky odor.

Safari Media Africa/C.A. Mitchell 2000-2012

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