A Genet Question from Dzanga Bai
I have a question to anyone who might be an “expert” in genets, and specifically to Vladimir Dinets, who actually saw what was most likely the same individual that’s in question.
So like Vladimir, we saw a suspiciously diurnal genet in Dzangha Bai. It turns out that yet another guest, Andrew Sneddon, saw the genet in the bai. In fact, Andrew and I photographed the individual in the EXACT same location, on the same tree roots across the bai. I spotted a conspicuous genet walking in the shade across the Bai at 11am, but after trying to snap some quick, blurry pictures (see below) and an even worse video (also attached) it didn’t look very “servaline-y” to me:
I mean, I’m not a genet expert by any means. But as soon as I looked in the “Kingdom Field Guide to African Mammals: Second Edition” which is the book our guide, Christian, had with him, I thought this looked more like the Giant Genet (Genetta victoriae), formerly “Giant Servaline Genet”, than the Servaline Genet (Genetta servalina) based on the decription and illustration. I realize that Genetta victoriae is not recorded from the CAR, so maybe I’m just mistaken, but it is found North of the Congo river. Based on the description of the tail “..boldly banded in black and white and tapers near the tip” as opposed to the servaline genet, for which “…the tail is not tapered…”:
They both have “narrow muzzle”, and the servaline genet is “exclusively nocturnal” (well, everything has an occasional exception) but also is “often encountered on the ground” which could actually indicate that this is it. I’ve been looking at pictures of both species and trying to read about them since I got back (yesterday, that is), but there’s not a whole lot of info about, pictures of the Giant Genet… So I turn to you all for help in identifying it. Is it “just” a servaline genet, and I’m just trippin?
Once we get this one sorted out, I can throw some blurry and unsatisfying pictures of mice and galagos for you all to help me identify 😉 Then I complete the report for the adventure we just had in Cameroon and the CAR.
Thanks in advance! Cheers!
Yes, I saw the same individual, but at very close range. A giant genet has smaller number of rings on the tail, and the tail tip is more blunt (I know because I once wrote a paper about it). Besides, it’s a highly arboreal species of dense rainforests. Kingdon Guide has tons of errors (you’ve probably noticed that its depictions of rope squirrels have nothing to do with reality), and one known error is that Kingdon’s claim of multiple sightings of giant genet in Uganda and Kenya were all misidentified seravline genets (I don’t remember if it was in this book or another one, and might be wrong about some details).
Here’s my paper about a giant genet sighting from Rwanda, with a photo and some identification tips: http://dinets.info/DinetsGenet.pdf
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Hmm. The spot size and neck stripe pattern all suggests servalina to me, although it is rather dark and long legged. I suggest you pass it by Philippe Gaubert just to be sure. I’ll email you his address.