a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

La Genette


Genette in van

The other day my friend Annie came rushing in, telling me to come as she had something she knew I would want to see.

Genette in cage

The trapper had caught a Genette (Genetta genetta ) in his trap.  Annie’s husband Yvon is the representative of the French Hunting Association in the area so the trapper brought the Genette so that its capture could be noted and they could discuss a suitable place for its release.  The Genette is protected in France and is rarely caught in traps and even more rarely seen in the wild as it is nocturnal and avoids human habitation.  It is carniverous and will eat any small rodents such as wood mice.

Genette long body

I was fascinated to be so close to such a beautiful but savage animal.  It has a very long body and a beautiful coat, I could understand why it used to be hunted for its fur.  It did not seem at all upset to caged in the middle of the day and was taking the extra attention very stoically.  A loud noise made it go on the defensive and it snarled revealing an impressive set of teeth.  It changed from passive pussy cat to serious predator in seconds.

Genette head

I’m afraid the excitement was too much for me and the pictures are a very poor quality.

Only the pregnant females have a fixed den so I’m sure the Genette will not object to being transferred to new hunting grounds.

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

33 thoughts on “La Genette

  1. Holy cow! That is exciting. I’m super envious.


  2. I didn’t know they have such fascinating wildlife in France. And don’t even know this animal. Must have been interesting to see before the realease.


  3. Wow. I had to do some research on the internet to find out what a genet is. What a cool-animal. I too am surprised that they can be found in France.


  4. How nice that your friends and neighbours know to tell you about these finds; I’ve never even heard of this animal. I’ll have to find out if they are here in Italy.


  5. What a find, Amelia and I haven’t heard of them either. Sometimes the naming of an animal is just perfect. Dave


  6. I’d never even heard of one!


  7. Absolutely wonderful!
    I am with Susan on this…
    personally, green with envy!!

    The “Guide des mammifères d’Europe, d’Afrique du Nord et du Moyen-Orient” [Delachaux & Niestlé 2010] states that it has colonised most of South-West France…
    and is still spreading [the map shows a curve from Nantes, running North of the Loire and curving round to the Massif Central, then the South Coast…
    but now regularly seen as far away as Belgium and Germany]…
    whilst mainly carniverous, it, like the Fouine, also eats mushrooms and fruits…
    and the last line of the entry is interesting “Peut-être anciennement domestiquée.
    Might also explain it’s calm nature until worried.

    You lucky, lucky, lucky….
    and what a marvellous friend to come and fetch you!!


    • Yes, I am very lucky. As the origin of the species is in Africa there is a theory that they may have been brought over as a domesticated animal in ancient times to keep down rodents. I can’t quite buy that idea, I think cats would have been easier. Perhaps ancient fur farms? Its coat was beautiful.


      • Don’t forget that rich Romans used to excel in their acquisition of strange and exotic pets… and I’ll bet that the Moors may well have done…

        If there was a trade in them in early days, someone may well have started breeding gennets… had the inevitable escapes and now they are visiting you!!
        And will go on slowly expanding, filling gaps in the food chain where they exist…

        {when I was in forestry at the end of the Sixties I saw…
        twice… the fabled Surrey Puma….
        and so did the colleagues with me…
        it had been someone’s “pet” until it got too big…
        it wasn’t at all put out by our appearance…
        it stood up, looked at us and sauntered to the edge of the wooded area and lay down again….
        it was wearing a very big thick leather collar…
        and it was no pet Labrador…
        at that time, if you had the money, you could buy one from the pet shop in Harrods… we were right in the middle of the “stockbroker belt”… and there was no Dangerous Animals Act then!!}


  8. Exotic and beautiful. What a treat.


  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_genet

    I learned something new . . . I learned there is something I want to photograph if I ever visit France.

    Had never heard about it, and was surprised at its size.

    I understand about the photos, but your next chance to photograph one better result in more and better photos.

    . . . don’t make me come over there and take my own . . .


  10. That’s interesting. Like others I had never heard of this animal. In that last photo it has the face of a cougar, but the ears are a little different.


  11. Astounding! I thought Genets only lived in Africa. The only french Genet I know of wrote novels, plays & poems… RH


  12. What an exciting find. It seems to have a very long tail ? And is perhaps a little like a Civet?


  13. Very good, I am glad you shared the photos with the world. Thanks.


  14. Wow, such a beautiful creature!


  15. How exiting to be close to such a beautiful creature.


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