Serval

ANIMAL:
Serval                      Leptailurus serval

Type of Animal:
Feline

Habitat:
Grasslands, wetlands, savanna, forest edge, woodland, bamboo thickets, marshes, swamps, mountainous areas, brush

Location(s):
Sub-Saharan Africa, avoiding dense forest, desert, semi-desert, & steppe. Extremely rare in N. Africa, north of the Sahara.

Appearance:
Yellow w/ black spots & white belly, very pointy ears, looks like mini cheetah, very long legs, black stripes on tail. Melanistic (black) servals have been seen in the wild.

Food/Diet:
Hyraxes, mongooses, rats, mole rats, mice, ground squirrels, shrews, moles, rabbits, hares, frogs, crabs, birds, insects, fish, lizards, tortoises, snakes, young pythons, young crocodiles, gazelles, small antelope, domestic goats, domestic sheep, domestic piglets, antelope calves, impala calves, okapi calves, genets

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding from zoos, wildlife parks, & private breeders

Lifestyle:
Solitary

Additional Info:

Called:
Male-Tom
Female-Queen
Young-Kitten
Group-Solitary

Weight:
Male-35-43 lbs
Female-18-33 lbs
Young-2-3 lbs

Gestation: 
2.5 months

Life Span:
15 years in wild, up to 20 years in captivity

Height:
1.83-2.08 ft

Body Length:
Male-3 ft
Female-2 ft

Tail Length:
0.83-1.4 ft

Main predators are leopards, wild dogs, feral dogs, hyenas, lions, crocodiles, pythons, & large eagles.

They leap w/ all feet off ground to catch low-flying birds.

Often persecuted as poultry, goat & sheep predators plus hunted for fur.

Name “Serval” derived from Portuguese word meaning wolf-deer.

Sexually mature at 1 year old. Male kittens leave mom 2 months before female kittens.

1-5 kittens in a litter, average 3.

Fun Fact(s):
Savannah Cats are a breed of cat w/ one parent being serval & other being domestic cat.

Four white servals (w/ spots) have been documented in captivity (never in wild). One still alive, living at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. The first one only lived for 2 weeks in a Canadian zoo.

Fairly common in exotic pet trade even though they don’t make good pets.

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