Common Genet

Common Genet Introduction:

Catlike, leoparlike, and somewhat weasel-like, the common genet is a unique animal native to Africa. Not actually a member of the feline family, genets are in fact viverrids. The common genet has a long and flexible body, with an even longer tail. Its legs are short but powerful, with semi-retractable claws that can be used for both climbing and hunting. Its fur is soft and dense, a tawny brown in color with leopard-like spotting and stripes along the torso. Its tail is fluffy and marked by dark rings. The common genet has very large ears, which it uses to hunt small prey. Their long whiskers allow them to feel in the dark and to test whether small openings are large enough to allow their body to pass through—a useful skill to have as a nocturnal hunter. A very few common genets have been found that are melanistic, meaning that they are entirely dark rather than spotted. Common genets are solitary for the most part, choosing to hunt alone at night. Each individual carefully patrols their territory—marking it with a set of scent communications—and they will not allow members of the same sex to encroach on that territory. The territories of individual females and individual males do sometimes overlap, as they are not considered rivals. Common genets breed between January and September, with a peak during the spring. Gestation lasts eleven weeks, after which a female genet gives birth to up to four young. Infant genets make special purring noises while young to signal to their mother that they need milk. After weaning, these young genets will start feeding on solid food. The diet of a common genet consists of small mammals, especially the wood mouse, as well as amphibians, scorpions, eggs, insects, and sometimes (in the Mediterranean region) fruits such as figs and olives. In Africa, the common genet sometimes falls prey to leopards, servals, and even large owls. While genets have been kept as pets in the past, they should be avoided as they can carry a range of parasites such as lice and fleas which can be harmful to humans.

Keywords to learn

Viverrid: a family of feliform mammals containing up to 33 species.

Melanistic: an increased amount of dark or black pigmentation.

About Me:

Hey Kids, my name is Grey the Gennet and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @

Common Genet Data

  • Order: Carnivora.
  • Lifespan: 20–34 years.
  • Class: Mammalia.
  • Scientific Name: Genetta genetta.
  • Mass: 1kg–3kg (13lbs–29lbs).
  • Length: 43cm–55cm (17in–22in).
  • Region found: Africa.
  • Population Status: Least Concern.
  • Current population trend: Stable.
  • Diet: Carnivorous.
  • Sexual maturity: 2 years.


The common genet is a beautiful animal that is fully adapted to its life as a nocturnal hunter. With a range that covers much of the African continent, the common genet is still plentiful and—thanks to its adaptability—will likely not become endangered for many years to come.


Now that you know more about the common genet by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.

Common Genet Facts for Kids

  • # 1. Genets have up to five distinct calls that they use to communicate with each other.
  • # 2. Genets were once semi-domesticated.
  • # 3. Genets living near humans help to keep vermin and pests under control.
  • # 4. The common genet is an excellent climber.
  • # 5. Including the common genet, there are 17 total species of genet—each with slightly different characteristics.

Q&A Corner

  • # 1. What is a viverrid?
  • # 2. What order does the common genet belong to?
  • # 3. What are three things that are part of the common genet’s diet?
  • # 4. Where to common genets live?
  • # 5. What does the common genet use its whiskers for?


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