Large-spotted or Cape Genet [Genetta tigrina]
The Large-Spotted Genet has a shoulder height of 210 mm, but this species is short legged. The elongated body has a length of 460 mm and a mass of 1.6 kg. The thick, black and whitish-grey ringed tail is long at 400 mm. Claws are short, partially retractable and are an aid to climbing. No sexual dimorphism is obvious. Rows of rusty spots enclosed with black rings cover the brown or tan upperparts. The black rings merge into lines on the neck. The belly is whitish. They have white patches around the mouth, nose and below the eyes.
The Large-Spotted Genet can be confused with the Small-Spotted Genet, the main difference being the white tipped tail of the latter compared to the black tipped tail of the large spotted species. Another difference is the entirely black spots of the small spotted genet which are without a rusty centre.
The bulk of its diet consists of rodents and other small mammals such as insectivores, whereas birds, snakes and amphibians are secondary prey. Invertebrates only make up a small portion of its diet. Will also ingest fruit.
Normally breeding takes place during the warmer months. The Large-Spotted Genet gives birth to an average of three young per litter after a gestation period of about 70 days. Indications are that the young remain in nests, made above ground, until they are weaned.
This is a solitary species, only occurring in groups during the mating season. Well wooded and watered areas are preferred habitats, particularly forests and closed woodlands. Some dense vegetation for shelter and close proximity to water are essential habitat requirements.
Where are they found
The Large-Spotted Genet is distributed in South Africa from the southern and eastern coast, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Province and extending into neighbouring countries.
Their diet is varied and they are known to take in grass which assists in their digestion and to induce vomiting to get rid of toxins they may have ingested.