It seems this genet is making a habit of riding large herbivores.
September 9, 2014 4:57 PM   Subscribe

A genet in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa has been photographed by camera traps for several weeks running, riding around on the backs of cape buffalo and rhinoceros . Researchers agree: this is weird! (via.)

Hear more from South African safari guides and rangers at the Ranger Diaries. WWF has footage from camera traps worldwide. A compilation of interesting animals caught on camera.

Some previous camera traps.
posted by ChuraChura (60 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Presumably they can tell that this is the same little catweasel guy each time, right? Because otherwise that means there is a small army of rhino-riding catweasels and actually that sounds pretty awesome and I have no complaints.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:06 PM on September 9, 2014 [21 favorites]


How can they tell it's the same hitchhiking genet?
posted by jeather at 5:07 PM on September 9, 2014


Genet-ic testing.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:08 PM on September 9, 2014 [65 favorites]


Foiled by an earlier comment. In other news I really love that tail. I think they would be adorable pets, especially if you had a big dog for them to ride.
posted by jeather at 5:09 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even if you assume it's the same genet, it still seems unlikely it could find two animals that let it ride.
I can see where riding on a much bigger animals is a big plus safety-wise. Lot's of stuff might try to eat you on the ground or in a tree, but on the back of a rhino, not so much.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:11 PM on September 9, 2014


She's got a ticket to ride...
posted by cjorgensen at 5:16 PM on September 9, 2014


Real Africa. Real Conservation. Real Weird.



But, nifty nonetheless.
posted by Michele in California at 5:17 PM on September 9, 2014


I love this very much.

I keep learning about new catweasel animals I had never heard of -- like the fossa [mute for the first 25 sec for stupid music, stay thru the video for meat pinata and impressive fossa problem-solving].
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:17 PM on September 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


If you watched educational and informative nature films like Madagascar you would know what a fossa is IM JUST SAYING.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:19 PM on September 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think I ate part of one of these, once. Something similar, certainly. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. It was pretty good, actually; very rich flavor.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:22 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even if you assume it's the same genet, it still seems unlikely it could find two animals that let it ride.

What if the big animals go there specifically to play with it?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


I officially name this catweasel "The Jean Genet."


This time, he lives on their backs.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:23 PM on September 9, 2014 [22 favorites]


The wife and I got hooked on Snapshot Serengeti for a while, in which you help researchers by combing through archives of trap camera photos and classifying the animals pictured. It was super fun, and apparently popular enough that all their photos were completely classified. Sad face.
posted by Existential Dread at 5:23 PM on September 9, 2014


I can see lots of reason why the genet might like a ride, the question is why the rhino is so mellow about it as opposed to rolling over when the little sharp clawed mammal went up the side.
posted by tavella at 5:23 PM on September 9, 2014


I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened.

Do you mean like you slipped into a fugue state and committed atrocities? Or like you ate a bit of something made for you by someone else who later revealed the contents?

nb im fine with either answer, just nosy really
posted by poffin boffin at 5:25 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


The genet is looking down intently toward the ground in several photos; I assume the approach of a big heavy animal like those makes small burrowers come out of the ground to avoid having their tunnels collapsed on them, and then the genet eats them.
posted by jamjam at 5:25 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Out of all the stories I've heard of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, this is the first by far.
posted by uosuaq at 5:26 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


The jean genet, rides on their backs
The jean genet doesn't ride yaks
He's so lazy, he jump and he go
Jean genet, ride that rhino
posted by ian1977 at 5:26 PM on September 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


Even if you assume it's the same genet, it still seems unlikely it could find two animals that let it ride.
What are you trying to say? It's on a buffalo and then a rhino. I don't see how that's not two animals, so obviously it did find at least two such animals. Unless the rhino is actually a buffalo in a rhino costume.
posted by agentofselection at 5:27 PM on September 9, 2014 [10 favorites]


Even if you assume it's the same genet, it still seems unlikely it could find two animals that let it ride.

A lot of farm cats do this on horses and cows. A surprising number of the horses and cows are pretty chill about it, though not all. As for why, usually it's because it's cold. Like sleeping on a big heater.
posted by fshgrl at 5:27 PM on September 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


Unless the rhino is actually a buffalo in a rhino costume.

OK BUT WHAT IF the rhino is in tragic interspecies love with the buffalo and the genet is its Cyrano.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:39 PM on September 9, 2014 [10 favorites]


Unless the rhino is actually a buffalo in a rhino costume.

Or the much more likely answer that the buffalo is actually a rhino in a buffalo costume.
posted by jeather at 5:53 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Guys, they're actually all suits full of genets.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:54 PM on September 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


The wily genet is trying to catch one of those tasty oxpecker birds, I betcha what.
posted by maggieb at 5:58 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


...there is a small army of rhino-riding catweasels and actually that sounds pretty awesome and I have no complaints. they will soon conquer the world!

Yeah, my cats will ride around on the mule and the Fox Trotter. The A-rab not so much--too jumpy.

I spent today riding around on large herbivores, looking for other kinds of large herbivores that will eventually be someone's dinner. I thoroughly understand Mr. Genet's wanting to do this. It was a good day.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:05 PM on September 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


When I was living in the Congo (Peace Corps Volunteer) for a while I had a pet genet (I think). Here's one of my pictures of it (we called it Kisimba Kapussy). A cutey indeed.
posted by Death and Gravity at 6:07 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


Beats walkin'
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:12 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


This particular genet enjoys riding on larger animals. This same genet is awesome.
posted by maryr at 6:45 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I think fshgirl's idea is brilliant. Any chance it is correct?
posted by maryr at 6:48 PM on September 9, 2014


Or the much more likely answer that the buffalo is actually a rhino in a buffalo costume.

Idk what kind of information is available that would lead us to deduce which species is more prone to costumed deception but I am willing to partially fund the research that answers this and many more questions about the animal kingdom.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:52 PM on September 9, 2014


"Gee, Brain. What are we going to do tonight?"

"The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world."

YES. YES. YES.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:56 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I keep learning about new catweasel animals I had never heard of -

The fossa is almost if not actually extinct by now. The environmental (and political, and humanitarian and everything else) situation in Madagascar is so dire.

I saw a genet, but only from a distance, in Kenya last year. I was weirdly excited and disappointed, as I really wanted to see one, but because we were so far away and it was fast and I knew that would be it. Apparently they hang out at a resort in the abedares but I never got up there.
posted by smoke at 7:20 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Out of all the stories I've heard of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, this is the first by far.

Hluhluwe is not the largest or most famous but it's probably the best game park in South Africa in terms of game population and the quality of facilities. I went there a couple of times when I was a kid. On the first a giraffe stuck its head through the window of our rondavel early one morning; on the second a few years later we had some amazing early morning trips to a waterhole hide watching the antelope and zebra and giraffe come down to drink while crocodiles slowly maneuvered to try and catch them; as well but definitely off-menu was a freakishly rare display one night of the southern lights.
posted by Flashman at 7:24 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Never thought I'd see a hipster rhino, yet here it is.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:25 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


She helps me find genets
posted by Zerowensboring at 7:31 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


What a loafer!
posted by Schadenfreude at 7:47 PM on September 9, 2014


Needs a catchy song...
posted by jpdoane at 7:47 PM on September 9, 2014


You can have a pet genet without being a rhino! They are not great with very small children or pets smaller than cats, but they are not a vulnerable species and the ones in Europe were likely domesticated genets who escaped, so ta-dah! Have your own roman cat that climbs you like a tree and adores you (apparently they bond tightly with their owners and do not take to changing families well at all). Amusing Youtube of a pet Genet going nuts over baby lotion, complete with child wearing underwear on head.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:52 PM on September 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


Do Genets Make Good Pets?
For every animal, it depends on the person, but for most people the answer will be no.

When people state that an animal makes a ‘bad pet’, they are generally speaking of its ease of care, friendliness, and adaptability to the human home. These are traits that domesticated animals have perfected.

A genet is not particularly a ‘hands on’ type pet. They are aloof and independent. You will get to 'hold', or more-so be perched upon by the genet if the genet decides that will be so, and the honor is usually directed toward the caretakers who are there most often.

Genets that are not handled frequently from a young age might be even wearier of people. They can be incredibly skittish; mine has the requirement to run to a safe location in 10 second intervals or if any threatening sound arises.

These qualities are literally stitched into the animal's DNA no matter how much socialization one provides. Yes, this is a domestic 'wild' animal, but to an owner who doesn’t require an animal to be very cuddly and is accepting of the genet’s nature as extremely independent (if they get outside, you’ll need lottery luck re-catching them), a genet is a possible fit.

When a genet does decide to climb on you, they often don’t have the boundaries that keep their claws from harming their owners. This is why some genet owners carry out the controversial practice of de-clawing which I don't consider ethical.
(I consider pretty much any exotic animal pet ownership unethical and a bad idea, but when even people who OWN exotic pets tell you it's a bad idea, it's probably a Bad Idea).
posted by ChuraChura at 8:10 PM on September 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


animals riding animals!
posted by zscore at 8:14 PM on September 9, 2014


When a genet does decide to climb on you, they often don’t have the boundaries that keep their claws from harming their owners.

Yep. Watching that video, I was cringing, and asking myself why that guy was allowing himself to be clawed by a wild animal.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:19 PM on September 9, 2014


I knew my joke was pretty parochial when I made it, so thanks for not taking me to task, Flashman. It does sound like a pretty awesome place, apart from the feline overlord factor.
I do love awesome words, though, and "Hluhluwe-iMfolozi" is my new "Ljubljana" (as far as place-names go, anyway...my current favorite German word remains "Quarkauflauf").
posted by uosuaq at 8:32 PM on September 9, 2014


The fossa is almost if not actually extinct by now. The environmental (and political, and humanitarian and everything else) situation in Madagascar is so dire.

Huh? It's listed as Vulnerable, but not endangered, critically or otherwise. Are you thinking of something else?
posted by tavella at 9:04 PM on September 9, 2014


Because otherwise that means there is a small army of rhino-riding catweasels and actually that sounds pretty awesome and I have no complaints.

You say that now. You may rethink it when confronted by a platoon of them marching in ranks up your street.

I for one welcome our new rhino-riding catweasel overlords.
posted by scalefree at 9:04 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ever seen a green cat?

Adjacent cat lady's many white cats thought it might be cool to ride my Alpacas. On successive days, Mojo and Tucker and Olympia got them off by rolling, turned them green with spit and vigorously tried to stomp them. The entire indignant herd will now sound the alert usually reserved for snakes and coyotes and charge, (a sight to see) before lining up along the fence. They can turn a cat green as it runs the long and narrow path between a ravine and The Spitters. It's a gauntlet and very funny to watch.

I think it's either fun for both species, or a clan war.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:13 PM on September 9, 2014 [12 favorites]


You may rethink it when confronted by a platoon of them marching in ranks up your street.

nah i am totally down to scritch some fuzzy kittehweasel tummies
posted by poffin boffin at 9:44 PM on September 9, 2014


nah i am totally down to scritch some fuzzy kittehweasel tummies

Yeah but what about the rhinos?
posted by scalefree at 9:47 PM on September 9, 2014


Rhinos probably down with it as well.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:51 PM on September 9, 2014


idk do rhinos like tummy rubs? google is uncertain
posted by poffin boffin at 9:57 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I think fshgirl's idea is brilliant. Any chance it is correct?

Theory?? There's a tumblr
posted by fshgrl at 11:08 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh? It's listed as Vulnerable, but not endangered, critically or otherwise. Are you thinking of something else?

Yeah unfortunately the IUCN categorisation in this case is based predominantly off guesswork, as - like many of the fauna in Madagascar - they are hard to track due to natural reclusiveness and the inaccessibility of many of the environments they inhabit.

There's a little bit about it in this great article:
Unfortunately fossas, like much of Madagascar's wild biodiversity, are faced with extinction. Classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, Lührs says more research is needed to know if fossas are in fact doing worse than believed. ..

...Lührs says she is pessimistic, but not hopeless regarding the long-term survival of the fossa. To save the species the first thing that is needed is more research, including "an intensive fossa survey all over Madagascar" according to Lührs. Right now conservationists simply don't know how many fossas survive and where populations are viable.
That piece is three years old - you can also catch a bit about it in the great BBC documentary from around the same period, appropriately titled "Madgascar". It also outlines the pressures on the fossa coming from every different angle you can think of.

My understanding is that the situation has only grown worse since then. Madgascar is and has been going through one of the most intensive and rapid habitat destructions out there. Only a comparatively small portion of the island gets enough rainfall to sustain the forest environment fossas are native to, and the population and government are denuding it at a staggering rate. There is simply nowhere for them to go.
posted by smoke at 3:12 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Genets are crafty. One managed to come down off Signal Hill, cross numerous roads and make it's way up four flights of stairs in an apartment complex and into my aunt's bathroom.
posted by PenDevil at 4:09 AM on September 10, 2014


CMD-F *Uber*
0 results.

C'mon metafilter, I expect more of you.
posted by drowsy at 5:08 AM on September 10, 2014


Spent too much time around livestock, I guess. Thought the post was for cute, not unusual.

Like fshgrl and bluehorse, I live in a world where small carnivores ride large herbivores and it's no thing.

That llamas are not okay with it surprises me, frankly.

Also, in answer to the rhino question - yes, they like skritches. Captive rhinos are basically like very good-natured horses, except that if they suddenly smash their head sideways because of pesky flies, a person who's in the way could be killed, rather than just knocked across the barn aisle. So, you know, if you are visiting your friendly neighborhood rhino keeper, borrow a long broom to scratch the rhino from outside its pen.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:07 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ever seen a green cat?

No, because SOMEONE didn't provide pics with their alpaca story.
posted by jeather at 7:08 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Heh, fshgirl, I meant specifically for the genets. As a cat owner, I am familiar with the idea that they exchange love for body heat.
posted by maryr at 8:58 AM on September 10, 2014


Metafilter: a small army of rhino-riding catweasels
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:37 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sorry about no pics. I'm still getting used to this. Alpacas make a very strange sound when they feel threatened. http://baldhillalpacas.com/alpacasounds.html

Up until now the threats have been real and I grab the shotgun instead of the camera.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:15 PM on September 10, 2014


I like how if you click through the photoset in the first link, it progresses as 'picture of genet' (lookit that li'l guy!) 'picture of genet jumping around' ('aww, he's a li'l spring-sprangler guy!') 'picture of genet snuggled in a tree' (who's a sleepy fella? YOU ARE!) 'picture of genet droppings' ('awwhhuh. that's a lot of poop. good job?)and then 'picture of genet roadkill' (way to suckerpunch the cuteseekers, photoset!)
posted by FatherDagon at 2:47 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow, and I didn't even see the last photo in the set. SPOILERS IT IS TERRIBLE
posted by FatherDagon at 2:52 PM on September 10, 2014


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