The serval is classed as a ‘small cat’ and is closely related to the caracal and African golden cat.
Size: Head-body length 60 - 100cm
The serval is found over most of Africa, south of the Sahara, although there is a small population found in the Atlas Mountains in the north. They are found in many habitats including woodlands, grasslands and wetlands
The serval’s diet mainly consists of small rodents, hares, lizards and sometimes small antelopes such as duikers and oribis. They will also hunt birds leaping up to 3 metres into the air to take down their prey, sometimes as large as flamingos!
Females give birth to between 1 and 4 young after a pregnancy of around 2½ months. These are usually born in abandoned burrows, dense shrubs or in a crevice amongst rocks.
Although not classed as endangered, the serval is hunted for its skin and for the exotic pet trade. Due to human and agricultural development, the serval comes into conflict with farmers and is considered a pest - however they may actually beneficial to farmers as they control rodent numbers. It is a protected species in many areas.