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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Civets & Genets



Introduction: Civet is an ingredient of perfume extracted from the secretion of the perineal gland, normally obtained from captive animals. Although artificial civetone has reduced the demand for the natural product, it has not stopped market requirements for the 'real thing', especially from the African civet (Civettictis civetta), the largest of the species.

Civets are cagey creatures, often waiting until predators are close by before making good their escape, a strategy it can cunningly rely on due its camouflaged colorations. Its long course hair will change to a striking mane when in danger.

Distribution: Bushveld savannah, woodland and riverine habitats of Caprivi Strip, Bwabwata National Park, Chobe and Kwando Rivers

Diet: Truly omnivorous and is one of the few animals that can eat millipedes as they are toxic to other mammals. Also on the menu are scorpions, snakes, insects, rodents, carrion and fruits.

Coloring: Grey fur with black blotches and bands and a distinctive facial mask and white neck markings.

Breeding: Litters of 1-4 kittens are born in dense vegetation or in holes and raised by females.

Size: Length 1.5m. Weight: 16kg.


Introduction: The large-spotted genet (Genetta tigrina) vaguely resembles a long, thin domestic cat, although the body is considerable longer. By day, it sleeps in abandoned burrows, rock crevices or hollow trees. The also habit high branches, often returning to the same spot each day. Genets also climb trees in search of birds and their eggs, but hunting is normally restricted to the ground. A nocturnal animal, it is common, but difficult to see.

Distribution: Genets live singly or in pairs in the riverine forests and dry scrub, savannah and open country. In Namibia they can be found in the north-east of the country, not far from the Kavango River and Caprivi areas. They are extremely agile climbers.

Diet: Their diet consists of small rodents, birds, reptiles, insects and fruits. As with domestic cats, they stalk prey by crouching flat on the ground and spit and growl when angered.

Coloring: Its long, coarse coat has a prominent crest along the spine and the tail is longer and bushier. The spots and other dark markings on the body, which are generally larger than the lesser-spotted genet, vary from almost black, with a sprinkling of rusty coloured hairs, to individuals that are an overall rusty colour. The tail is banded with 9 or 10 lighter rings, with a broadly black-tip.

Breeding: Young are born during the warm, wet months of the year, usually between August to March, averaging 3 per litter.

Size: Males weigh around 2kg and females slightly less with both being just under 1m in length from head to tail.

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