It is mainly nocturnal and holes up during the day in a hollow tree or log or in the disused burrow of an aardvark or spring hare. Its normal method of hunting is by stalking the prey and then pouncing, and its diet includes insects and rodents, as well as reptiles, and wild fruit which it often eats in trees.
It seeks the shelter of the highest clumps of foliage where it will rest in the forks of branches, making it a difficult animal to spot. It is frequently seen near rivers, dams and lakes, and has a slinking gait, with its head held low. To get a better look at the surrounding countryside it sometimes sits down in a 'begging' position with its outstretched tail providing balance. When alarmed, it bounds away towards cover. An average of three young are born.