The Cape genet (Genetta tigrina), also known as the blotched genet, large-spotted genet or muskeljaatkat in Afrikaans, is a carnivore mammal, related to the African linsang and to the civets. It can be found in Africa from Senegal to Somalia, and south to Namibia and South Africa, though it is absent from the continent's south-western arid zones. Like other genets, it is nocturnal and arboreal. They prefer to live in the riparian zones of forests, as long as they are not marshy areas.
Similar in appearance to the common genet (G. genetta), the Cape genet has yellowish-grey fur with rust-colored and black rosettes, with a black and white tail. Individuals from drier areas of South Africa tend to have lighter colors and less stark patterns, while the opposite is the case in moister areas. Melanistic individuals are known.
Its diet is varied, and scientists consider it to be an opportunistic omnivore. Their diet consists of animals such as: birds, spiders, scorpions, fish, and insects. They also eat grass, which can aid digestion, dislodge hair in the intestines, induce vomiting to get rid of ingested toxins, relieve throat inflammation and stomach irritation.
The Cape genet is one of the species of genet kept as an exotic pet, in the U.S.A. and elsewhere.
- Gaubert, P. & Hoffmann, M. (2008). Genetta tigrina. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 24 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- Roberts, Peter D. et al. (2007). Diet of the South African large-spotted genet Genetta tigrina (Carnivora, Viverridae) in a coastal dune forest. Acta Theriologia, 52, 45-53.