Species profile

Name: the serval (Leptailurus serval) is a species of wild cat native to Africa.

Appearance: servals have small heads, large ears, and distinctive yellow coats patterned with spots and stripes. They have the longest legs of any cat relative to their body size.

Size: servals are medium-sized cats that stand around 60 cm at the shoulder and weigh between 9 to 18 kg.

Diet: they are nocturnal hunters that feed on rodents, small birds, frogs, and insects. They can leap over 2 metres to catch their prey before killing it with a bite to the back of the neck.

Did you know: servals have been associated with humans since the Ancient Egyptians. Over this time they have been kept as pets although their wild nature makes this challenging. In April 1986, the first Savannah cat was born – a hybrid between a male serval and a female domestic cat. These cats are spotted like a serval but tame like a domestic cat – and make great pets!

Location: servals are native to Africa. They are rare in North Africa and the Sahel but widespread across sub-Saharan Africa. They inhabit semi-arid areas and cork oak forests but avoid rainforests and arid areas – preferring areas close to water which provide cover through reeds and grasses.

Where to see servals

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see servals in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Nairobi National Park
very good
South Africa
very low
very good

Photo credit: 3342 under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay 

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