Diet of the South African large-spotted genet Genetta tigrina (Carnivora, Viverridae) in a coastal dune forest

25 May 2007

We studied seasonal variations in the diet of the large-spotted genet Genetta tigrina Schreber, 1776 in the coastal dune forest of the Dwesa Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The food items with the highest relative percentage occurrence were Coleoptera, Orthoptera and Mammalia. However, by volume they ate mostly grass then followed by Coleoptera and Orthoptera. Main prey items originated from the litter layer or low lying bushes, such as arachnids, insects, myriapods, and most mammals. The latter included ten rodent (main staple: Dendromus sp.), two golden mole and two shrew species, from 10–100 g mass. They were represented dependent on species density, but switching between seasons and habitats occupied. Birds appeared under-represented in the diet for a semi-arboreal carnivore, although this correlates with data from other studies. Remains of birds in the diet, however, peaked during winter and spring probably as a result of the main nesting period in spring. There were some variation in diet between habitats (riparian, forest and beach) and seasons. Our results show the South African large-spotted genet to have an opportunistic, generalist diet.