Leptailurus serval

Meet the Serval

Author: Nessie O'Neil

Serval Classification

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genus and Species:Leptailurus serval

A photo of a pet serval

Splendid Serval Facts

A photo of a pet serval

Least Concern

Height: 17 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder

Weight: 15-40 lbs

Up to 20 years in captivity, and generally 10-12 years in the wild. 

In the wild, servals live in grasslands, wetlands, and savannah regions of Africa. Its preferred habitats are areas with tall grasses and abundant prey, often near water sources.

The serval primarily preys on small mammals, birds, frogs, and insects. Its long legs and keen sense of hearing allow it to detect and pounce on prey hiding in tall grasses with remarkable precision.

About the Serval

Distinct Features of the Serval

The serval is characterized by its long, slender legs, relatively short tail, and a tawny coat spotted and striped with black. Its ears are large, alert, and oval-shaped, enabling it to hear the slightest sounds of prey in the grass. One can’t help but be reminded of a giraffe when they see its long neck and legs, making “Giraffe Cat” a fitting nickname.

The Serval's Hunting Style

Renowned for their hunting prowess, servals boast a success rate of more than 50% in their hunts, making them one of the most successful feline predators. .With its keen sense of hearing, it can detect rodents, birds, frogs, and insects hiding in tall grasses. Using its long legs, the serval can leap up to 10 feet in the air to catch unsuspecting birds, demonstrating an incredible blend of precision and power.

Behavior and Reproduction

Servals are primarily solitary animals, marking their territory with scent markings to ward off rivals. They are also crepuscular, which means they are most active during the dawn and dusk. Females give birth to 1-4 kittens after a gestation period of about 74 days. These kittens are born blind and helpless but grow quickly, becoming adept hunters under their mother’s guidance.

Serval Conservation

While servals are not currently classified as endangered, they face threats from habitat loss and illegal pet trade. In certain regions of Africa, they are hunted for their beautiful coats. Conservation efforts are underway to ensure these magnificent creatures continue to grace our planet.

Servals as Pets

With their striking spots and moderate size, Servals might seem like a more manageable substitute for a pet cheetah, but they are far from easy animals to keep! If you are interested in learning about what it takes to care for and share your life with a pet Serval then read on because you have come to the right place.

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