Small spotted Genet - Genetta genetta

• Hedgehog - Atelerix frontalis • Bushbabies - Lorisidae • Greater cane rat - Thryonomys swinderianus • Baboons and Monkeys - Cercopithecidae • Pangolin - Manis temminckii • Antbear - Orycteropus afer • Hares - Leporidae • Squirrels - Sciuridae • Spring Hare - Pedietes capensis • Porcupine - Hystrix africaeausralis • Jackals and Foxes - Canidae • Weasels, Polecats, Badgers and Otters - Mustelidae • Civets, Suricates, Genets and Mongooses - Viveridae • Haenas - Hayenidae • Cats - Felidae • Hyraxes - Procaviidae • Pigs - Suidae • Antelope - Bovidae • Rhinocerus - Rhinocerotidae • Zebras - Equidae • Hippopotamus - Hippopotamus amphibius • Giraffe - Giraffa cameloperdalis • Elephant - Loxodonata africana •

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 Kleinkolmuskeljaatkat
Tswana Tshipa Shangaan Nsimba Shona Tsimba

3 cm


5 cm
Contains insect fragments and small mammal remains
Deposited in middens

Unusual features/differences from similar animals

Smaller spots than the  Large-spotted genet, On the middle of the back is a strip of long, black hair that the genet can erect when alarmed, larger than that of the Large-spotted Genet. The tail has a white tip whereas the tip of the tail of the  Large-spotted genet is black. The chin is dark brown but the chin of the large-spotted genet is white. Ears are black whereas the ears of the large-spotted genet are a light colour. 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

Widely distributed. Survives in woodland, scrub and fynbos. Occurs in arid areas and penetrates desert along rivers.


The small-spotted genet eats insects, small rodents, lesser bushbabies, birds, eggs, reptiles, fruit and crabs. It often raids poultry pens at night and scavenges when possible.


Litters of 1-4 are born in August-March after a gestation of 70 days. The eyes are open at eight days and young are weaned at nine weeks.

Behavior and Habits

It is active only at night and hides in a shelter during the day. The small-spotted genet starts moving about two hours after sunset. 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, pounce and kill-bite to the neck. Small-spotted genets eat the feathers of small birds.

Occurs as solitary animals or in family groups.


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

Developed by