Serval (Leptailurus serval)
Species: Leptailurus serval (Schreber, 1776)
Subspecies: Leptailurus serval serval (Schreber, 1777)
*Likely distinct but may be synonyms of L. s. serval. Further research needed.
Tail Length: 20-38 cm (8-15 in)
Pelage: Pale yellow fur; solid black spots on sides; bars or bands on neck and shoulders; tail with black bands; tip black.
|Distribution & Status||Behavior & Ecology|
Range: Wide distribution, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa; small, isolated populations north of Sahara.
Habitat: Grasslands bordering rivers and lakes.
IUCN Status: Least Concern (2014 assessment)
CITES Appendix: Appendix II
Locomotion: Secures prey with fox-like, stiff-legged bouncing jumps, all four feet off ground at once. Can leap a span 4 m (13 ft). Climbs trees when chased.
Activity Cycle: Active dawn and dusk (crepuscular); also nocturnal. Inactive 40% of time in some locations; patterns vary with habitats.
Social Groups: Solitary.
Diet: Mainly eat small rodents; also consume frogs, crabs,small birds, snakes, lizards, shrews, and insects.
Predators: Hyenas and leopards.
|Reproduction & Development||Species Highlights|
Sexual Maturity: 1-2 years
Gestation: c. 74 days
Litter Size: 1-3 most often; 5 very rarely
Birth weight: 250 g (c. 9 oz)
Age at Weaning: 4-5 months
Longevity: Survive to 10 years in the wild; 20 years in managed care.
© 2010-2019 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Minor updates in April 2015. Subspecies (taxonomy) updated Feb 2019.
How to cite: Serval (Leptailurus serval) Fact Sheet. c2010-2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ serval. (note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Jan 15)
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