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a genus of predatory mammals of the family Vi-verridae. Its long (to 55 cm), squat, and exceptionally lithe body is covered with short, rather coarse, and maculate fur. The tail, up to 50 cm in length, is not downy, and at its base there are glands that secrete a pungent fluid called musk. There are six species, found primarily in the savannas and tropical forests of Africa. The common genet (G. genetta) is widespread throughout Africa. It is also found in southwestern Europe (Spain and France), where it inhabits both wooded and treeless mountains and lowlands, living primarily near bodies of water. It resembles the polecat in its way of life, primarily nocturnal and feeding on small animals, birds and their eggs, and invertebrates; it is sometimes damaging to poultry farming. Genets are easily domesticated, and in Africa they are sometimes kept in the home to exterminate rats and mice.