Print Posted By Lost in France on 5 May 2007 in Wildlife - Wildlife and nature in France

The Shy & Elusive Genet

The Genet

The Genet is a gorgeous looking cat like creature with a very long bushy tail but the Genet is not however related to the cat and comes instead from the Viverridae family and is in fact more closely related to the Civet.

Originally from Africa the Common Genet Genetta genetta was introduced into France in the 6th century when it was used by man for catching rodents rather like ferrets are used today. The Genet is a shy, solitary and elusive animal which can be found in a range of habitats from forests to rocky terrain.

Like the cat the Genet is a very inquisitive animal with retractable claws and is an extremely agile and expert climber spending much of it's time in trees. The Genet when alarmed can squirt a foul smelling secretion from it's rear end to deter an enemy and it will also mark it's territory in much the same way.

With its large eyes and disproportionately large ears the Genet grows to a length of around 50 cm and it's tail is of equal length, it's yellowish fur is attractively spotted turning in to bands on its tail.

Although mostly carnivorous by nature and an expert hunter the Genet will sometimes eat fruit and berries if available but it's main prey includes small rodents, nesting birds, amphibians and the occasional squirrel.

Genets are sexually mature by the age of two and females are capable of rearing one or two litters a year. The young or kittens are normally born in a small burrow and are completely dependant on their mother only becoming fully weaned at around 12 weeks. Genets live for around seven years in the wild and up to twenty years in captivity.

In France the Genet is a protected species and is known as La genette commune.

What do you think?

Join Our Newsletter - Today