Haussa Genet

Genetta thierryi

Species Information

The three genets at Chew Valley laze around during the day but become incredibly active and playful towards the end of the day! These enigmas are wonderful to watch, as they hop between plant pots and climb all around their enclosure!

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They are native to West African savannahs, rainforests, and woodlands.

This spotted, cat-like animal has large triangular ears and big eyes, which is representative of their excellent hearing and sight, especially over long distances. They can move their ears 80 degrees horizontally from forward facing to side facing as well as vertically from a normal erect position to facing downwards. This is useful as it allows them to pinpoint prey and detect predators more easily but is also used for communication.

They eat birds, small mammals, snakes, lizards, eggs, fish and insects as well as fruits and mushrooms.

Unknown in the wild, but about 15 years in human care.

They are usually solitary animals who sleep during the day in hollow trees, burrows, or rocky dens, and then forage for food during the night. Although solitary, genets are not strictly territorial, which means that they can live amongst each other harmoniously. These semi-arboreal animals, meaning they often inhabit trees, are very agile and exceptional climbers. This is advantageous as they can escape predators, such as leopards and honey badgers, in the trees, but also, they can find and store food where other terrestrial species cannot gain access to.

Gestation period of about 78 days and give birth to 2-4 kits.

Least Concern

The white patches under the Thierry’s genet’s eyes are thought to help with communication by making any facial expressions more distinct when they come face to face with other genets. They mark their scent using anal glands and will perform a handstand to make their marking as high as possible to deceive and intimidate intruders of their actual size. This scent marking can last up to 9 weeks!