A serval cat in the plains of Maasai Mara

The African Serval Cat

Any Similarities to Other Cats?

The African serval cat resembles the domestic cat, though there are a number of distinguishing characteristics. For example, the serval has larger ears adapted for its predatory lifestyle; it is taller and has a shorter tail. It has longer legs that make it easier to hunt in grasslands.

There are 19 species of serval cats. This cat lives in solitude, in territories, but it sometimes shares a region. To mark a territory, both males and females squirt urine around. This animal lives in grasslands, reed beds, marshlands and in forests where they can easily locate watering holes or streams.

This cat’s diet includes small animals such as mammals, birds and insects. Sometimes, serval cats also eat fruits. This wild cat can walk for kilometres looking for prey. Once it spots prey, it tracks it for a while and pounces at the right time.  It is no wonder that this species diet includes birds because servals also seize birds flying close to the ground.

The females raise kittens single handedly and they relocate their young ones frequently. Once the kittens show they can hunt on their own, the female serval drives them out. The major enemies of servals are lions and leopards.

You can spot serval cats in Kenya, in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park and in Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy among other places.

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Profile photo of Betsy Muriithi
on Mar 12, 2014

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