The tallest of Africa's small cats the serval is very strikingly beautiful with long, elegant legs. It jumps amazingly high to seize its prey.

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Photo: Dr Mircea Pfleiderer

The serval (Leptailurus serval), the most elegant of the cats, is only found in Africa and nowhere else in the world.  They have unusually large ears which are used as antennae to pick up sounds of the small prey in the grass or under ground.  Their shoulder height is 55cm and weigh around 13kg.  They prefer long grass and marsh areas and must drink on a daily basis.  Each serval has its own unique fingerprint of strips and spots.  The light skull is adapted for eating birds and rodents and it would be difficult for them to kill anything larger than a hare. When hunting rodents it leaps high into the air and pounces down on its prey and stuns it. Serval have been recorded taking domestic poultry which brings it into conflict with farmers. Due to it's size it is perceived to be a threat to livestock - which is unfortunate. Research has shown that 94% of their diet consists of rodents.


 

serval - predatours wild cats

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