09 April 2010

The Tale Of The Genet's Tail

I got behind with processing the data from February, March, first bit of April and some older Kruger National Park trips for myself, but I managed to get everything done this week :) Don't ask me why I do it, I don't really know myself... While busy with this I noticed again how I haven't had any good Large-Spotted Genet photographs recently:

When I started camera trapping I was fortunate to get some great photographs of the closely related Rusty-Spotted Genets (Rooikolmuskejaatkattte). My first photos were in the Magaliesberg where I photographed one passing by the camera at night.

The Rusty-Spotted Genet (Rooikolmuskeljaatkat) is somewhat overexposed, but it is a great action shot

I first encountered the Large-Spotted Genet at Kirstenbosch early on and I got some great shots.

Large-Spotted Genet (Grootkolmuskeljaatkat) walking past the camera at Kirstenbosch

Large-Spotted Genet standing beautifully on a fallen tree in a forest patch at Kirstenbosch

But then it seems like my luck started to run out with these pretty little creatures...

The tell tale tail of a Large-Spotted Genet

Even after moving cameras around for better shots the genets still managed to always come from the wrong direction or move to fast.

How do they always know what way the camera is facing?

Like a master our friend the genet manages to avoid showing his face to the camera in every photograph

Most recently things seem to be improving. In late March I managed to photograph the front of one of these little critters, but unfortunately the head is blurry...

Large-Spotted Genet at Tygerberg teases me ruthlessly

And most recently I got this video clip. So close and yet so far...

Video: A clip from the horror film "The Curse of the Headless Genet"

I encounter them quite regularly in areas with trees. Now, I have to confess that I have some theories: The interesting thing about the early pictures are that I used bait for many of the good photographs and I haven't use any bait recently and most of those non-baited photos were of only part of the animal. They seem to hang around the camera a few seconds longer if there is bait, and this does seem to make a difference in getting good shots. However baiting doesn't seem to make a huge difference in how frequently I photograph them, just the quality, but this does need more testing to be sure. At the moment I encounter them often enough even when not using bait, but I'm getting a little bit tired of the same old tale, or should it be tail...

Side-note: For some reason I prefer not to use bait, although I don't really have anything against using bait/scent. Maybe one day I'll play around with it a bit more...


  1. Good stuff. I'm with ya on not really wanting to use baits/scents - they seem a bit unnatural. But the Codger has taught me that there's lots of natural things you can use to help get that critter in front of the camera and pausing long enough for a good shot.

    Collected scats work well, as do little treats, such as a mouse you snapped in the basement, or a bird you happen to find dead. I've also had good success with my own urine - animals always wanna stop to smell who/what came by...

    Whatever you do - keep it up - it's great seeing all of the different species down/over there.


  2. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try it out sometime, maybe it can help me get a Small Grey Mongoose that has been eluding me for some time now. I've seen them running around, but no photographs yet...

    Now that I think about it last time I used bait I (possibly) managed to scare away the shrew I was targeting, because after I put the bait out I never saw it again, hahaha. So maybe your idea of “natural” bait might work better in the future, thanks :)