Serval

This male Serval (Leptailurus serval) was born March 2018. We welcome him to our family, as a gift for our educational program.

Servals are unique for having the longest legs and largest ears of any feline in comparison to body size. Their coat is golden-yellow with a black spot pattern which merges into stripes along its neck and back with horizontal stripes on the ears. The serval is able to purr as well as hiss, snarl, growl, and make high-pitched cries. The serval hunts rodents, lizards, and amphibians on the ground, but they can also climb trees to hunt birds. The large ears assist with hearing, enabling it to pinpoint small prey and the cat’s uniquely long legs enable it to see over the tall grass for signs of movement. The serval will leap vertically to pounce down directly onto its unsuspecting prey from above. Servals are also able to reach high speeds in a short run and are capable of jumping up to ten feet off the ground.

The serval is normally solitary, with pairs coming together to mate only for a few days when a female comes into heat. There is no set breeding season for servals, however, the spring season is most common for mating. While raising the young the female spends considerable time hunting and less time resting, to provide for her offspring. The juvenile servals leave their mother at a year of age.

Servals are found in southern Africa. They live in the open savannah near wetlands on the edges of swamps and by the shores of lakes. Even though their habitat overlaps with the caracal, their prey are different, allowing them to coexist without competition. The main threats to servals are hyenas, leopards, dogs, and humans.

Serval Statistics:

Body Size
Weight
Gestation Period
Litter Size
Life Span

25 - 40 inches
30 - 45 pounds
63 days
2 - 3 kittens
8 - 10 years in the wild, up to 20 years in captivity