The Genet of Africa The Reclusive Hunter


Authored by Rodney Southern in Nature and Wildlife 
Published on 09-24-2009

The genet is a member of the civet family that is found throughout Africa and parts of the Middle East. This animal is very reclusive and keeps very much hidden the vast majority of the time. The genet is very laid back and is even kept as a pet in some homes where rodent infestation has become a problem.

The genet is very small and largely resembles a small house cat in size and structure. The genet has tan fur that is marked with various dark shades and patterns. These shades and patterns help the genet to remain virtually invisible to the prey they hunt, as well as to the prey that hunts them. The genet blends in very well.

The genet also has alternating rings of tan and black that go down their long tails. This feature is a common one among the civet family of mammals. These reclusive animals like hanging out in the trees and grasslands, and sleep throughout the daytime. At night they come out to hunt. This night time lifestyle also helps the genet to keep itself hidden from the various dangers surrounding it.

The genet is very much cat like in appearance but they have a longer snout. This feature of the genet is another common one found in the civet family. While the civet has an incredible sense of smell, their real weapon is their incredible sense of sight. The genet can see almost as well at night as they can during the day. When humans are seeking to see the genet at night in the wild, they often have to search for their glowing eyes amongst the trees to find them.

The genet is a fantastic hunter and can track down small birds, rodents, snakes, and lizards with the best hunters out there. They also will dine on insects and fruits, and are very adaptable in their lifestyle. The genet is a master of stalking and killing these prey items and are welcomed in most villages because of it. Many problem species of animals are eaten in large numbers by the genet and their various civet kin.

The genet is a very solitary animal unless they are looking to mate. When they do, they release a very sweet smelling odor in the area that they frequent to advertise that they are “ready” and willing to mate. At this time, they will mate with other genets, and abandon their solitary lifestyle. After they are finished mating, they once again return to the lifestyle of being alone. The genet will sleep all day and hunt all night, and they are among the best at remaining hidden.

There was a time when hunters prized the civet for the glands that produced the musky sweet smell in their anus. They used this for perfume manufacturing and the civet family including the genet suffered for it. While the genet survived this onslaught and the hunting is now illegal in most parts of the world, the species still suffered greatly from this horrible eco-disaster. There are some that believe the genet is now much more leery of human beings than they were before this tragedy. Others have spoken of keeping genets as house pets, and them domesticating well. Regardless, the animals are beautiful and should be respected and admired.


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