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Serval (Leptailurus serval) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat

Distribution

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)

Habitat

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 www.d-maps.com 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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