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BellaOnline's Exotic Pets Editor

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Genet - Pet Genet

Guest Author - Diana Geiger

People have been keeping genets for centuries and they make exceptional pets. The Small Spotted Genet or Common Genet is of the family Viverridae.

Small Spotted Genet or the Common Genet weighs 3 - 5.5 lbs pounds when fully grown. Their average lifespan ranges from twelve to twenty years. The wide range depends on their owner’s willingness to learn about their pet and their readiness to put what they have learned into action. This is true of any exotic pet.

The genet needs a high-protein diet much like the ferret. Though the genet is not a carnivore they are omnivores.

Learn what the exotic pet would commonly eat in their own environment. It just doesn’t seem right when you feed them something meant for another pet like cat food or dog food. In fact, most dogs and cat foods are not fit to feed dogs and cats.

What do genets eat? The Small Spotted Genet or the Common Gene eats insects, eggs, small mammals, birds, lizards, fruits, and amphibians. If you want to acquire an exotic pet that means you have accepted and have learned how and where to find/buy their food and then, stick to their diet. Cooked chicken can be fed to the genet.

You can raise your own feeder insects to make sure your Small Spotted genet - Common genet has high quality insects.

Here is my article on feeder insects Feeding Live Prey to Exotic Pets

Genets are very clean animals they clean themselves similar to a cat. They are quite good at using a litter box with regularity.

Can genets climb? They have long lean bodies, with a tail at least as long as the body, often longer. Genets are nimble climbers. Their tail works as a counter weigh helping them balance as they leap from tree branch to tree branch. Their dexterity is a joy to observe.

The genet is sometimes referred to as a genet cat. While there are similarities to a cat they are not a cat.


Their color ranges from brownish gray to a rust color with dark brown to black spots that appear to be arranged in fairly neat rows. The tail has dark rings and more often than not a white tip at the end of the tail. The face has a beautiful pattern with a black chin. The ears are distinctively perpendicular and rounded at the tips. They have a long snout. The Large Spotted Genet also called the Rusty Spotted Genet is darker or rustier than the smaller genet


When frightened or excited they can erect the hair along the apex of their spine. Many animals attempt to make themselves look larger and or more fierce to intimidate their enemy.

They make a wide variety of sounds. Like many animals they hiss and spit. On the other hand they purr and mew. This also is similarity to a cat, and another reason they got the misnomer name genet cat.

The Small Spotted genet - Common genet is able to stand bipedally using the two back legs or the two front legs. It makes me think of the Spotted Skunk doing a handstand when they spray. The Small Spotted Genet often stands on its front legs to release the musk from their musk glands primarily to mark their territory. When a genet is frightened they can release a rather pungent odor.

Interestingly enough, they have semi-retractable claws similar to the cat. Not many animal species are capable of doing this. They use the claws to hold on to their prey and to climb. A genet should never be declawed. I can certainly see how the mistake was made for the genet to get the name genet cat!

They give birth to 1- 5 young, (most commonly 2-3) after an average of a 70 day gestation period. A genet that is taken away from its mother around four weeks of age and bottle fed will bond to their human family much better than genets of an older age. Genets normally wean their young around 8 weeks of age. Bonding with an adult genet is possible but difficult.

They usually live and hunt alone as they are solitary animals. They don’t bond well with more than a few individuals.

They can learn to get along with other pets especially when they are raised together. Keep smaller pets away from the genet; these small pets are called genet food. They can kill with a deadly bite to the neck.

The Small Spotted genet - Common genet is nocturnal meaning, active at night. They are quite flexible and agile and have a very curious nature. They love to investigate. They can also fit into very small holes and spaces. Making sure your house is escape proof is essential. They hide very well when frightened.

Europeans began to keep genets as pets to help keep rodent populations under control.

The exotic pet genet cannot be kept in a cage. This would be like caging a common house cat. They need to climb. Build a large-tall enclosure with a large structure to climb if you don’t want them to have run of the house.

The genet has some common characteristics with the Civet. Here you can find my Civet article to compare the two handsome animals. Civet Cat

Make sure you check the legality of owning a genet. Remember the laws can differ between state, county, and city.

Also find an exotic pet veterinarian that is familiar with the care of a genet. Find the veterinarian before you purchase or acquire a pet genet.

Spotted Genet breeders or Common Genet breeders and baby genets for sale
Janda Exotics

Castleberry Safari

Small Spotted Genet pictures – genet images
Genet pictures – genet images

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I am also the Bird editor if you enjoy pet birds subscribe to the Birds newsletter. Birds BellaOnline


Diana Geiger Exotic Pets Editoron


Cat Tree, Beige





Ferrets: A Complete Guide available in paperback, PDF, and Kindle. By Diana Geiger (me:) Five star reviews! I have also found it at Barnes and Noble online.





Ferrets: A Complete Guide - Paperback

Ferrets: A Complete Guide - Kindle

PDF Version Ferrets: A Complete Guide (Access to free PDF Reader)
Ferrets: A Complete Guide

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Content copyright © 2014 by Diana Geiger. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Diana Geiger. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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