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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fun Facts about Servals!

Photo courtesy of PMdTPhotography
 Servals (Felinae serval) have the largest ears and longest legs in relation to the size of their body of any cat.

Photo courtesy of Warrenaken
Their fur is yellow, gold to reddish with black spots that often merge to form stripes on the neck and back. Their ears have horizontal stripes. The stomach is usually lighter color than the rest of the body. They have a long neck and a small head.

Serval cats are diurnal or nocturnal depending on the habits of the prey where they live

The serval’s hind lets are longer than the front ones.

A serval can leap in the air to catch birds.

Photo courtesy PMdT Photography
The main threats to servals are hyenas, leopards, dogs and man. Sometimes they are hunted for their pelts which are passed off as immature leopard pelts.

Modern molecular DNA analysis indicates that servals maintain their own unique lineage descending from the same Felid ancestor as the lion, and though the serval shares common traits with the cheetah, it is the cheetah which is thought to have descended from ancient servals

The serval is native to Africa, where it widely distributed south of the Sahara
Photo courtesy Mike Dos Santos

Although the serval is specialized for catching rodents, it is an opportunistic predator whose diet also includes birds, hares, hyraxes, reptiles, insects, fish, and frogs.

Like the Cheetah, the mother raises her kittens alone and must leave them frequently to hunt. When the cubs are large enough to hunt, the mother will drive the males away from the family first

Solitary in habits, except when mating or when a female is accompanied by her young. Serval scent mark their large home ranges of 15 - 30 square km. Home ranges are not exclusive, but occupants avoid  contact

Serval kitten. Photo credit: Sniktawk

 The serval’s preferred habitat is moist, tall grasslands, often associated with wetlands. This preference results in a patchy and localized distribution.

 Servals' large ears act as radar dishes to locate food. These cats listen for the movement of animals in the grass before they pounce. It is believed that they use their ears as much as their eyes.

Individual servals can be identified by the unique pattern of spots, stripes and rings on their fur because no two servals have exactly the same markings

Photo courtesy Martin Benadie

The serval, one of 30 species of small cat, is sometimes referred to as the “Savannah Stalker” because of its superb hunting skills on the grasslands of Africa

Ancient Egyptians worshipped the serval for its power and grace

Servals are successful at hunting about 50% of the time – a higher success rate than lions.

1 comment:

  1. I love this website! It gives me so much info about servals. :):):):):)!!!!!!!