Serval

Leptailurus Serval

Scientific Name

Serval:  
Leptailurus Serval

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

The serval is found in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. Although increasingly rare, they can be found in small numbers in Northern Africa.

Natural Habitat

Servals prefer the open grasslands, wooded savannahs, grassy uplands and moist areas.

Physical Characteristics

  • The serval is a long legged, tall, slender cat averaging three feet in length and weighing about 35 pounds.  Females are slightly smaller.  Their general colorization is off-white to gold with black spots of varying sizes, some running together to form stripes on the neck, shoulders and tail.

Quick Facts

  1. The serval is an excellent hunter, they use their large ears like a radar funnel to locate birds and flush them out of the tall grasses.

  2. Servals have been seen jumping as high as ten feet in the air knocking down a startled bird in one fell swoop.

  3. Major threats to the serval are man as they are still mercilessly hunted for food and for pelts.  Their body parts continue to be used in tribal ceremonies and in some cases eaten to satisfy ancient medicinal beliefs.  Habitat destruction also plays a role in their decline.

Exhibit

Vanishing Animals North

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Serval is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Diet

Carnivore

In the wild serval eat rodents, hyrax and birds. In human care they receive organ meat (primarily beef heart), chicken, or beef.