On the 11th of November last year, staff at Africa Alive! were overjoyed to find two very welcome additions in the form of serval kittens. Strong, healthy and adorable, they are being closely watched over by their mother Milia.
The serval is a wild cat native to Africa. It is rare in North Africa and the Sahel, but widespread in sub-Saharan countries except rainforest regions.
Parents Shango and Milia, arrived from Parc Zoo du Reynou and Touroparc zoo in France in 2015 and 2014 respectively and this is their first ever litter, with Milia proving to be an exceptional first time mother. After a pregnancy lasting approximately 73 days, Milia gave birth in a private area, away from any distractions. Kittens on average weigh between 250 – 300 grams at birth and their eyes open at around 2 weeks. However, at that point they still have a lot of growing to do and after receiving their vaccinations at 9 weeks of age, were finally ready to face the world.
There are very few zoos within the U.K that keep this species, so this is yet another important addition to the park and a great chance to come and see a family of unusual and very attractive African felids.
The serval has the biggest ears and longest legs in relation to its body in the world of cats.
They eat a variety of prey species, which they catch either by springing high into the air and landing on its victim, dispatching it with a blow from one of its forepaws or jumping up to 3 meters to bring down a bird.
The female rears her kittens by herself.
Their spotted coat and their tendency to attack and kill domestic poultry make them a target for hunters.