Leptailurus serval

Animals of Africa Back
The serval is a small, lean cat with very long legs and incredibly large ears compared to its small head. Its very long neck, earned it the nickname of giraffe cat. The serval can stand on its back legs and jump over 9 feet into the air, which is one of the ways it hunts birds. The serval also hunts by patiently waiting in the tall grass where its coloring camouflages it, making it nearly invisible. It can stay there listening without moving for up to 15 minutes, rotating its large ears to zero in on the exact location of its prey. It often catches rodents, its most frequent prey, by reaching right down into the rodent’s burrow with one of its long legs. Servals are crepuscular, which means they hunt most often in the early mornings or late afternoons, although they will occasionally hunt at night, especially when near human populations.

In the wild, the serval is solitary except when breeding. The female can give birth from 2 to 3 kittens, and those kittens can double in size during their first 11 days of life. They stay with their mother for up to a year, and are fully mature at between 18 and 24 months.


Rodents, reptiles, birds, large insects and frogs

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