Common Genet is an extraordinary beautiful animal, but isn’t very well known. It looks a lot like a cat but in fact a Common Genet doesn’t belong to the cat family. Instead, these adorable creatures belong to the viverridae family. Viverridae family has 15 genera and 38 species, all of which are medium sized mammals. Common Genet was first discovered in Africa but soon after it was first spotted it got widely spread. Firstly it was brought to the southwestern Europe and Balearic islands. Today it can be found in savanna zones north of the Sahara, in Africa, on the coast of Arabia, Yemen and Oman, even in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. Even though a common genet is being hunted a lot, it is still one of the least endangered animal species according to the IUCN red list.
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Common Genet is a nocturnal animal, meaning it is most active at night when it hunts for prey. They have been mistaken for carnivores for a long time, but studies show that Common Genets are actually omnivorous. During the day, Common Genets avoid sunlight. In fact, they usually have a signature spot where they will spend every day. They are fans of the routine, they don’t like changing their sleeping spot, but they will if the circumstances dictate so. Reports say that Common genets favorite places to sleep during the day are hollow trees and dark covered up places. As mentioned before they do not like to be directly under sunlight, or to be seen while they are sleeping. That’s why they will spend some time finding a perfect place for them to rest during the day, and in most case scenarios, will go back to their same sleeping spot every time the sun rises again.
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Once the night starts falling, Common Genets start getting alert. They wait patiently until the evening comes to an end and it gets really dark outside. That’s when a Common genet will get out of its sleeping spot and start looking for food. All of the Common Genets have a range in which they will be hunting and looking for a mate. They are also solitary animals, meaning they do not enjoy company of others whether it’s a female or a male Genet. Instead they tend to spend most of their time completely alone sleeping in woods during the day and hunting by night.
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The only time a Common Genet will actually contact another one of its species is when they are looking for a mate. Males do not get in fights because of females, as it is a common scenario when it comes to animals. This is not because they lack aggression or because they are surprisingly tolerant. In fact all common genets have a very well defined territory and very clear borders of it. Because of that, territories of males never overlap in the wild. So basically they never even encounter another male, so it’s impossible for them to get in conflicts with one another. But at the same time, territories of females do overlap with territories of males.
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Even though they have a smaller area of range than males, it is quite enough for them to meet and mate when mating season comes. Males usually have a range of 113 ha (280 acres) in which they move around and hunt freely while females have a range of about 78 ha (180 acres). This is because when it comes to Common Genets females are smaller than males, they require less energy and they spend less energy, overall females are less active than males in this species. Because of that, territories of females are significantly smaller than territories of males. To put it simply, they do not need as much food so they do not need as much range. Studies show that female common genets are approximately 10% smaller than males. In order to paint a word picture for you, male genets grow up to 4.4 lb and 17 to 22 inches in length not counting their tail, which can reach the length of amazing 13 to 20 inches. Their fur is very soft and quite dense, and as you can see, pale white with usually 5 rows of black spots and a long black trail down their back.
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Even though Common genets do not belong to the cat family, their behavior and communication calls are incredibly similar to the ones that cats use. For example, in the first week of their live, right after they were born, common genets will constantly purr like a cat when you pet it. As they get older, common genets learn more communication calls, until they hit maturity. After the first week, when they are only capable of purring, little Genet start moaning and meowing like a real cat. It uses this call for as long as it is still dependant on the mother. After that they usually learn growl and show their teeth, at this point they are pretty much mature since they are starting to show signs of aggression, meaning they can now hunt for themselves and not depend on their mother anymore.
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Since they are solitary animals, when a young one matures and leaves the mother there isn’t really an emotional goodbye, since both of them feel that it is the natural thing to do. Last communication call that a common genet learns and use is the so called “hiccup” call. It is used once it hits sexual maturity, and they produce the hiccup sound when they are looking to attract a mate, or when a mother calls her young. Their mating season lasts from January to September. Once mates find one another during the night, the copulation usually lasts few minutes, and they repeat it over and over, about 5 times that same night. After that, the healthy gestation period will last about 10 to 11 weeks. In most cases, a Common Genet will give birth to four young. They will start hunting at 5 months and they will hit sexual maturity at 2 years of age.
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