Genetta genetta 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Viverridae

Scientific Name: Genetta genetta
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Common Genet
French Genette commune
Spanish Gineta
Taxonomic Notes: There is a high degree of intraspecific variation in this species, which has resulted in many described subspecies; the validity of many of these is unknown, while others might actually represent distinct species (Gaubert et al. 2004, 2005, 2009). This assessment includes the South African Small-spotted Genet (Genetta felina (Thunberg, 1811)), which has recently been regarded as a separate species by Jennings and Veron (2009) following Gaubert et al. (2004, 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-28
Assessor(s): Gaubert, P., Carvalho, F., Camps, D. & Do Linh San, E.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Hoffmann, M.
Contributor(s): Herrero, J. & Cavallini, P.
Common Genet is listed as Least Concern as it has a wide distribution on the African continent and extralimitally, have a very broad habitat tolerance, and are present in numerous protected areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Common Genet is a widespread species, occurring on the northern Saharan fringe (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and possibly Lybia), and then in open and dry savanna zones throughout sub-Saharan Africa in three large blocks, corresponding roughly to West Africa, East Africa and southern Africa (Delibes and Gaubert 2013). Also occurs in coastal regions of Arabia, Yemen and Oman (Harrison and Bates 1991); records from Palestine are in error (Schlawe 1980, Kock 1983).

In Europe, this species occurs in all of continental Portugal and Spain, Andorra, and western, south-western and southeastern France (Delibes 1999, Gaubert et al. 2008). It is also found on the Mediterranean islands of Majorca, Ibiza, and Cabrera (Balearic Islands; Delibes 1999). There are also scattered records from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and north-west Italy (Delibes 1999). In the latter country the presence of the species seems to be the result of natural colonisation from France, whereas the records from the former countries are likely to have been from the unintentional release of captive animals. Phylogeographic analyses confirmed that this species has been introduced to Europe and the Balearic islands (Gaubert et al. 2009, 2011). It has been recorded from sea level to 2,600 m a.s.l. in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco (Cuzin 2003) and at least 3,000 m a.s.l. in the Ethiopian Highlands (Admasu et al. 2004).
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Kenya; Lesotho; Libya; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Andorra; France; Portugal; Spain (Spain (mainland))
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is one of the most common small carnivores in its native range, though detailed data on density in Africa are scarce; in Serengeti, Waser (1980) estimated a density of 1.5 ± 0.37 individuals/km². In Europe, this species is moderately abundant, with increasing populations in France, and densities of 0.3 to 0.98 individual/km² (Delibes 1999, Camps and Llimona 2004). It is common in suitable habitat throughout the Iberian peninsula (Palomo and Gisbert 2002), where populations are either stable or slowly increasing (Camps 2015). On Ibiza, habitat is declining and becoming more fragmented, thus this species is suspected to be declining.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Common Genet tends to prefer all types of wooded habitats (deciduous and evergreen), where it is often associated with rivers and brooks, but it is a generalist and can be found in other habitats where there is suitable prey. It avoids open habitats, but may occur even in small fragments of woodland in farmland or near villages, and usually is absent from rainforests, dense woodlands and woodland-moist savanna mosaics (e.g., miombo woodland in Angola; Delibes and Gaubert 2013). The Common Genet feeds mainly on small mammals, but will also take birds, other small vertebrates, insects, and fruits (Delibes and Gaubert 2013). Is not uncommonly found in proximity human buildings, people and their domestic animals, which could have implications for disease transmission (Admasu et al. 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial
Generation Length (years): 4

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Occasionally they are eaten by people in some localities, and body parts are used for medicinal purposes while skins may be used for the manufacture of karosses in southern Africa (Delibes and Gaubert 2013); in North Africa too the species is hunted for its fur for decorative purposes (Cuzin 2003). In Europe, Common Genet used to be trapped for its fur (Delibes 1999).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Locally, Common Genets have been and are still killed for their meat, body parts, skin and fur. In Portugal this species is illegally killed in predator trapping for hunting management and this, together with road-kills, may be the most important sources of anthropogenic mortality. In south Portugal, although Genets seem to avoid highways, they are particularly sensitive to national roads (two paved lanes). Two thirds of the road-kills recorded over a 10-year period were subadults and the road-kill index was ca 12.8 individuals/100 km/year (F. Carvalho unpubl. data). Overall, however, it is believed that these sources or mortality do not currently threaten local populations. The only exception concerns Ibiza, where the Genet is threatened by the loss and fragmentation of habitat caused by urbanisation and infrastructure and tourism development.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is present in many protected areas across its range. This species is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention, as well as EU Habitats and Species Directive, Annex V (Delibes 1999). Protected by national law in some range states (e.g., Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Marginal  
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Suitable  
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability: Marginal  
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
suitability: Suitable  
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability: Marginal  
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

Admasu, E., Thirgood, S.J., Bekele, A. and Laurenson, M.K. 2004. A note on the spatial ecology of African civet Civettictis civetta and common genet Genetta genetta in farmland in the Ethiopian Highlands. African Journal of Ecology 42: 160-162.

Camps, D. 2015. La Gineta. Monografías Zoológicas, Serie Ibérica, Vol. 2. Tundra Ediciones, Valencia, Spain.

Camps, D. and Llimona, F. 2004. Space use of common genets Genetta genetta in a Mediterranean habitat of Northeastern Spain: differences between sexes and seasons. Acta Theriologica 49(4): 491-502.

Delibes, M. 1999. Genetta genetta. In: A.J. Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Kryštufek, P.J.H. Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, J.B.M. Thissen, V. Vohralík and J. Zima (eds), The Atlas of European Mammals, pp. 352-353. Academic Press, London, UK.

Delibes, M. and Gaubert, P. 2013. Genetta genetta Common Genet (Small-spotted Genet). In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses, pp. 223-229. Bloomsbury, London, UK.

Gaubert, P., Del Cerro, I., Godoy, J.A. and Palomares, F. 2009. Early phases of a successful invasion: mitochondrial phylogeography of the common genet (Genetta genetta) within the Mediterranean Basin. Biological Invasions 11: 523-546.

Gaubert, P., Fernandes, C.A., Bruford, M.W. and Veron, G. 2004. Genets (Carnivora, Viverridae) in Africa: an evolutionary synthesis based on cytochrome b sequences and morphological characters. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 81: 589-610.

Gaubert, P., Jiguet, F., Bayle, P. and Angelici, F.M. 2008. Has the common genet (Genetta genetta) spread into south-eastern France and Italy? Italian Journal of Zoology 75: 43-57.

Gaubert, P., Machordom, A., Morales, A., López-Bao, J.V., Veron, G., Amin, M., Barros, T., Basuony, M., Djagoun, C.A.M.S., Do Linh San, E., Fonseca, C., Geffen, E., Ozkurt, S.O., Cruaud, C., Couloux, A. and Palomares, F. 2011. Comparative phylogeography of two African carnivorans presumably introduced into Europe: disentangling natural versus human-mediated dispersal across the Strait of Gibraltar. Journal of Biogeography 38: 341-358.

Gaubert, P., Taylor, P.J. and Veron, G. 2005. Integrative taxonomy and phylogenetic systematics of the genets (Carnivora, Viverridae, genus Genetta): a new classification of the most speciose carnivoran genus in Africa. In: B.A. Huber, B.J. Sinclair and K.-H. Lampe (eds), African Biodiversity: Molecules, Organisms, Ecosystems, pp. 371-383. Springer, New York, USA.

Gaubert, P., Wozencraft, W.C., Corderi-Estrela, P. and Veron, G. 2005. Mosaics of convergences and noise in morphological phylogenies: what's in a viverrid-like carnivoran? Systematic Biology 54(6): 865-894.

Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. 1989. Observations on two mammal species new to the Sultanate of Oman, Vulpes cana Blanford, 1877 (Carnivora: Canidae) and Nycteris thebaica Geoffroy, 1818 (Chiroptera: Nycteridae). Bonner Zoologische Beitrage 40: 73-77.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Jennings, A.P. and Veron, G. 2009. Family Viverridae (Civets, genets and oyans). In: D.E. Wilson and R.A. Mittermeier (eds), Handbook of the Mammals of the World. 1. Carnivores, pp. 174-232. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Jennings, A.P. and Veron, G. 2009. Family Viverridae (Civets, genets, and oyans). In: D.E. Wilson and R.A. Mittermeier (eds), Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 1. Carnivores, pp. 174–232. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Kock, D. 1983. Identifizierung der Palastina-Genetten von J. Aharoni als Vormela peregusna (Guldenstaedt, 1770). Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 48: 381-383.

Schlawe, L. 1980. Zur geographischen Verbreitung der Ginsterkatzen, Gattung Genetta G. CUVIER, 1816 (Mammalia, Carnivora, Viverridae). Faunistische Abhandlungen (Dresden) 7: 147-161.

Waser, P.M. 1980. Small nocturnal carnivores: ecological studies in the Serengeti. African Journal of Ecology 18: 167-185.

Citation: Gaubert, P., Carvalho, F., Camps, D. & Do Linh San, E. 2015. Genetta genetta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41698A45218636. . Downloaded on 02 December 2015.
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