Wild Genets spotted in suburbia as they seek new homes.
David Overton, a resident in Melville, recently posted a notice to the local community group after seeing a Spotted Genet on his patio during the recent Johannesburg thunderstorms.
“We found a spotted genet on our patio last night, huddling in a corner after a suddern downpour. By this morning it had gone. Never seen one here before, and we’ve been in Melville since the 1970s. But maybe the long hot, dry, spell had something to do with it. Apparently these cute little animals are appearing in suburban gardens more frequently. We live three streets away from the Koppies, so it may have come from there.”
But is seems that Genets are becoming a normal sighting as many other social media users commented that they had also spotted the creatures in their gardens. It seems that as urbanisation encroaches on the Genet’s habitat, it seeks shelter in residential areas, but faces shooting, poisoning and trapping threats.
“Genets are often encouraged onto properties because they aid in keeping vermin populations in check, especially in areas where crops can be negatively affected by pests,” said Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo representative, Jenny Moodley.
The Genet is one of the growing numbers of wild creatures looking for somewhere to live as urbanisation destroys their habitat.
The creatures are found across southern Africa, especially in the drier areas. Genets are slender cat-like animals with a long body, a long ringed tail, large ears, a pointed muzzle and partly retractile claws. Their fur is spotted, but melanistic genets have also been recorded.
All genet species have a dark stripe along the spine; they differ in fur color and spot pattern. Their size varies between species from 40.9 to 60 cm in head-to-body length with 40 to 47 cm long tails; their tails are almost as long as head and body. They have large eyes with elliptical pupils; the iris is about the colour of the fur.
The creatures are most active at night, when they hunt for small creatures such as mice, rats, birds, lizards, bats, scorpions and insects but residents are also encouraged not to feed the animals, as they need to remain wild.
Karin Lourens from the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital explained that this is most likely a large spotted genet (Genetta maculata) and they do not advise relocation of the animals.
“These animals pose absolutely no threat and if you relocate one then another will come in and take over that territory. It is also possible that “relocating” a mother will leave babies in tree hollows when they are little. This will be a death sentence for the babies.
We always try and educate the property owner on their importance and relocation should never be an opt”ion.
Please contact Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital for any wildlife related queries on 071 248 1514 or www.johannesburgwildlifevet.com