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I woke up the other morning to a crow that wouldn’t stop calling out. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about, until I went outdoors, and saw the crow together with another animal, that at first sight looked like a lost guinea fowl which the crow intended to eat.

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On closer inspection, the “other” animal was none other than the wild genet. I had previously seen it at nighttime, but never before in full daylight, and never in the great acacia just outside our front gate.

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From down under, the animal was well camouflaged, and I promise you that I would have walked right past it, had not the crow announced his visit.

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The common genet (Genetta genetta), also referred to as the small-spotted genet, is a carnivorous mammal, related to civets. It can be found it Europe, the Middle East and throughout Africa. They are expert climbers (as confirmed in the images above!) and feed on small mammals such as lizards (there are lots of those in our garden!), birds, amphibians and occasionally also insects and fruit.

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Wikipedia describes it as a “secretive, nocturnal species” and that fits right in. He’s a little cutie, though! Although the species is relatively common, it is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. With more than thirty subspecies, full identification is tricky, but from the names available, my guess would be on Genetta genetta afra (North Africa) or Genetta genetta senegalensis (from Spain to Sudan). If anyone out there is better at identifying it, let me know!

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My eager interest in this little wild creature made people flock around me.

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Unfortunatly, they taught I wanted to get rid of the genet and talked about a medicine man who could be called on to hunt it down. The fur would then be used to make different magical amulets.

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I was distraught and told Ali that I under no circumstances wanted anyone to kill the genet, and asked him to stick around until the animal had moved away. Which he did.

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Although I have no idea what the genet was doing up in the top of the tree, he (or she!) eventually climbed down and slipped into one of the big holes of this great acacia tree.

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Anette and I saw him later in the evening, as he ran along our garden wall. We did not have a camera with us, so I took a picture from Josef and Renate’s garden, where the genets are regularly seen. This was our first genet visit at Ishtar’s Ark, but with so many lizards to feed on, I am sure it won’t be the last. They’ll just have to watch out for Dennis Mugu! :-)

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