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Serval (Leptailurus serval) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Africa (from IUCN 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Primarily sub-Saharan Africa
    • Not found in tropical rain forests and the Saharan desert
  • Isolated population in North Africa
    • Small populations reported recently north of Sahara in Morocco and northern Algeria
      • Separated from sub-Saharan populations for thousands of years (Nowell & Jackson 1996)
    • Some have been reintroduced in Tunisia
  • Regionally extinct in South Africa
    • Formerly along coastal belt in Cape Province South Africa; occasional reports continue (Henley 1997; Stuart 1985)


Grassland inhabitant (from Sunquist & Sunquist 2002 unless otherwise noted)

  • Well-watered savannas (IUCN 2008)
    • Especially common near reed beds and other riparian habitats (IUCN 2008)
  • Alpine grasslands (Nowell & Jackson 1996)
    • Tolerant of cold; present in regions receiving frost and snow
  • Require regions with sufficient grass
    • In forests where there are grassy patches
      • Not in rain forests

Tolerant of agricultural development (from Bowland 1990)

  • Present in areas with sufficient water and refuge
    • Human presence encourages rodent populations

In North Africa

  • Inhabit humid scrub and mixed woodlands

Elevation range

  • Up to 3,800 m (12,467 ft) (Nowell & Jackson 1996)

Distribution Map

Serval Distribution

Serval distribution.

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Page Citations

Bowland (1990)
Henley (1997)
IUCN (2008)
Nowell & Jackson (1996)
Sunquist & Sunquist (2002)

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