Large-Spotted Genet

© Nigel J Dennis


Large-spotted or Cape genet [Genetta tigrina]


The large-spotted genet of South Africa is short legged with retractable claws for climbing. They have a brown-tan coat covered in rows of rusty-coloured spots enclosed in black rings with a white underbelly. The black rings blend into black lines around the neck area. White patches are located around the mouth, nose and under the eyes.
The large-spotted genet has a black-tipped tail and the small-spotted genet has a white tipped tail. 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 400 mm long.

Large-spotted Genet Diet

The large-spotted genet mainly feed on rodents and smaller mammals. They also prey on birds, snakes and amphibians, which mainly serve as secondary prey. They also eat invertebrates and fruit grown in the woodland areas of South Africa.

Large-spotted Genet Breeding

The large-spotted genet has a gestation period of around 70 days, and produce a litter of three kittens. The normal breeding season takes place during the warmer months in South Africa. Observations made show that the young stay in nests built above ground until they have been weaned.

Large-spotted Genet Behaviour

The large-spotted genet always lives in close proximity to a drinkable water source with areas containing dense vegetation. They live in habitats such as forests and dense woodland regions in South Africa. They are solitary in nature and only form groups during mating season.

Where Are They Found

Large-spotted genet is found along the southern and eastern coastlines of South Africa. They are distributed in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Province and extend into the neighbouring countries of South Africa.

Field Notes

As the large-spotted genet has a varied diet of smaller animals, they are known to eat grass to aid with their digestion and to induce vomiting to expel toxins.