Unusual features/differences from similar
Smaller spots than the
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
genet is black. The chin is dark brown but the
chin of the
genet is white. Ears are black whereas the ears of the
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
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.