Serval, Leptailurus serval
December 2010

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TAXONOMY

Describer Schreber 1776
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Leptailurus
Species: Leptailurus serval

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Body Weight: Male 9-18 kg (20-40 lb);
                       Female 9-12 kg (20-26 lb)
Body Length: 59-92 cm (23-36 in)
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 AND STATUS

Range: Mainly sub-Saharan Africa; small
     populations north of Sahara
Habitat: Grasslands bordering rivers, lakes.
IUCN Status: Least Concern (2008)
CITES Appendix: Appendix II
Population in Wild:
ISIS captive population

BEHAVIOR AND ECOLOGY

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; patterns vary with habitats.
Social Groups: Solitary
Diet: Mainly small rodents and also frogs, crabs,
     small birds, snakes, lizards, shrews, insects.
Predators: Hyenas, leopards


REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

Sexual Maturity: 1-2 years
Gestation: About 74 days
Litter Size: 1-3 most often; 5 very rarely
Birth weight: 250 g (about 9 oz)
Age at Weaning: 4-5 mos.
Longevity: 10 yrs. in wild; 20 yrs. in captivity

SPECIES HIGHLIGHTS

Feature Facts: Very efficient predators; in a
     typical year a single serval captures around
     4,000 rodents, 260 snakes, 130 birds.
Society Press: The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
     currently have 7 servals.


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