(Genetta genetta)

The Common genet has a slender, cat-like body, a small head with a pointed muzzle, large oval ears, large eyes, and well-developed whiskers. Its legs are short, with cat-like feet and semi-retractile claws. The back and flanks are marked with about five rows of black spots, and a long black stripe runs along the middle of the back from the shoulders to the rump. There is also a black stripe on the forehead, and dark patches beneath the eyes, which are offset against the white fur of the chin and throat. The tail is striped, with anything from eight to thirteen rings along its length.

Common genets live in a wide range, including savanna parts of sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Mediterranean Islands, Arabia, Oman, and Yemen. They favor dry areas like Mediterranean woodland and rocky hills where crevices in the trees and rocks provide food, shelter, and security from predators.

Fully nocturnal, they are extremely active under total darkness but rest during the day. They are good climbers but they spend the majority of their time down on the ground, only climbing trees to search for food or escape from danger. When they walk, they hold their bodies low to the ground, their tails horizontal. Common genets communicate using body language and smell. Mothers and their young will call to each other, as well as communicate using olfactory and visual cues. They also produce various sounds to communicate. A mother and her babies exchange hiccup-like calls. Young genets will often purr and mew. When threatened, they make clicks and growls.

Common genets, being carnivorous, eat most small animals they can catch, such as mice, rats, insects, birds and small reptiles.


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