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Leptailurus serval

Description - Other Names - Distribution - Taxonomy

Serval (Leptailurus serval) Silhouette

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Serval Cat © M Thomas

Servals live in sub-Saharan Africa in mostly savannah environments where there are rivers or other sources of water.

Serval © M ThomasThe serval is an average sized cat. They boast the longest legs and biggest ears of all cats their size. They have a slim body with a dark-spotted beige coat. The spots normally form dotted lines from head to tail. Its short tail has several dark rings with a dark tip at the end.

The serval hunts at night. With their keen sense of hearing and eyesight they prey on small animals such as birds, frogs, fish, rodents, insects and small reptiles. They might on the occasion catch larger animals and they do not fear water, often wading out to look for fish or frogs.

Highly territorial, the male serval has territory twice as large as a female's and his might partly cover a female’s territory. When two males come into contact, they confront each other by staring at their foe for a long time until one of them provokes the other to attack. This may develop into a full on cat fight.

Females have a gestation period of 2 - 3 months then a litter of 1 - 3 kittens are born. During and after birth, the mother and her young will live in a shelter such as a deserted hole or amongst bushy undergrowth.

Other Names


Distribution map of the Serval
Distribution map
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