Serval (Leptailurus serval)
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons.
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)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.