The common genet is primarily a nocturnal animal, although young genets may be active during the day (2). Adult common genets tend to live alone, although the home ranges of a male and female often overlap (2). It prefers to remain in areas where it is protected by vegetation, especially woodland, and only ventures into open areas for hunting (1). Being carnivorous, the common genet feeds on a wide variety of small mammals and birds, but has a particular preference for wood mice (8).
Female common genets typically give birth to between one and four offspring after a gestation period of approximately ten to eleven weeks. The cubs emerge from the den at about 45 days old and start to eat meat after 7 weeks. Common genets can reproduce after reaching sexual maturity at about two years old. The lifespan of the common genet is about 13 years in captivity, but is likely to be shorter in wild populations (2).
Common genets have a number of different vocal calls, each used in certain situations. The ‘hiccup’ call is normally used by the mother and her offspring during the first five months, while the ‘purr’ call is used by offspring in their first week of life, and the ‘moan’ or ‘mew’ call is displayed by newly-dependent young genets. There are two types of aggressive calls: the ‘growl’, heard from young genets after they have developed hunting behaviour, while the ‘click’ call communicates serious threats (2).