Education and knowledge are very important when considering becoming an owner of this truly fascinating breed. To begin your journey to ownership Camnish Servals would like to give you some of the basic information about the Serval cat. With understanding and proper learning you can provide your serval with a long and happy life.
Serval Facts and Information
The Serval is a medium sized feline that looks like a small cheetah and is often mistaken for the Cheetah because to the spots that are all over it. The Serval is a tall, slender, graceful breed. With stripes and spots, long tail and very large ears, with black and white markings behind its ears. The Serval has a small neck and small head and they range in size from 15 to 40 pounds with males being larger than the females. Life expectancy is about 12–16 years in the wild, and up to 20–25 years in captivity. Usually, the serval is boldly spotted black on tawny, with 2 or 4 stripes from the top of the head down the neck and back, transitioning into spots. Some variations of the Serval have the appearance similar to the black panther. White servals are white with silvery grey spots and have only occurred in captivity. Servals are friendly, curious, intelligent, playful and energetic. They bond tightly with their family and will greet you at the door and follow you around the house giving frequent head butts or an unexpected friendly pounce.
Head: The Serval has a small head is taller than wide, and it has a long, slender neck.
Ears: Their ears are long and considered the largest in the cat family relative to their size.
Eyes: The eyes are blue as a kitten, and may be green, brown, gold or a blended shade as an adult. The eyes have a "boomerang" shape, with a hooded brow to protect them from harsh sunlight. Ideally, black or dark "tear-streak" or "cheetah tear" markings run from the corner of the eyes down the sides of the nose to the whiskers.
Body: The bodies of Serval are long and leggy; when a Serval is standing, its hind-end is often higher than its prominent shoulders.
Tail: The short tail has black rings, with a solid black tip.
Hair: Short and dense, without waves or feathering combined with a weather-resistant undercoat.
Coat: Breed standard calls for brown-spotted tabby, cool to warm brown, tan or gold with black or dark brown spots. Some variations have a silver-spotted tabby silver coat with black or dark grey spots, black (black with black spots), and black smoke (black-tipped silver with black spots) only.
Grooming: The coat needs a regular brush, about once a week and a bath when necessary.
Size and Appearance: Often referred to as the cat of spare parts, this unusual, but beautiful cat is among the feline families most successful. It has a small, delicate head and extremely large ears set on an elongated neck, long slim legs (hind legs longer than front), long slender body and a short tail. The ears are black on the back with a distinctive white spot, and the tail has 6 or 7 black rings and a black tip. The coat color is pale yellow with black markings, either of large spots that tend to merge into longitudinal stripes on the neck and back, or of numerous small spots, which give a speckled appearance.
Habitat: Servals are found in well-watered savannah long-grass environments, and are associated with reed beds and other riparian vegetation types. They occupy a variety of habitats all associated with water sources, they range up into alpine grasslands and can penetrate deep dense forests along waterways and through grassy patches, but are absent from rain forests. They will make use of arid areas in extreme instances, and have occasionally done so in parts of south-western Africa.
Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa, with small populations in South-West Africa, and a reported relict population in North Africa (no recent sightings confirmed).
Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of approximately 75 days, females produce a litter of 1-5 kittens, with 2 being the average. They weigh in at around 8.5-9 ounces at birth, and it will take 9-12 days until their eyes open. They begin to take solid foods around the age of 3 weeks, and are independent between 6-8 months, but may remain in their natal ranges. They attain sexual maturity between 18-24 months, and it is at this time that they will be forced out of their mother’s territory.
Social System and Communication: Servals are solitary animals, and social interactions are limited to periods of mating. Each sex maintains its own territory. Hear our chirps, purrs, hisses, snarls, calls, and growl sounds
Hunting and Diet: Much like the big bad wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood” the Servals big ears are “the better to hear you with!” The Serval’s sensitive hearing allows it to locate small mammals moving through the grass or underground, and to hunt its prey sometimes without seeing it until the final pounce. It also has the ability to leap vertically and catch prey such as birds, right out of the air. They do this by “clapping” with their front paws together and striking with a downward blow. Primary prey items for the Serval includes rodents, birds, reptiles, fish, frogs and insects. Servals have a hunting success rate of 50%.