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Serval Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Leptailurus serval
  • Class

    Mammals
  • Order

    Carnivora
  • Range

    Servals can be found throughout much of Africa, with the exception of desert regions.

  • Habitat

    The species occupies savannas, forests and woods. They are typically found near water.

  • Niche

    A carnivore, the serval eats a varied diet, including birds, rodents, insects, reptiles and small hoofed mammals. The cats’ spotted coat helps them to stay camouflaged in grasslands, enabling them to sneak up on prey. The species possesses excellent jumping abilities—they can leap up to 10 feet into the air—helping them catch birds in flight.

  • Life History

    Servals are often solitary, with males and females coming together to breed. Mothers hide their young in dens built in tall, thick grass. Newborns are blind at birth, and a typical litter includes 2–3 cubs.

  • Special Adaptations

    • The species' forepaws are equipped with long, retractable claws to help grab and hold prey.
    • A well-developed sense of hearing helps the serval locate prey in the tall grass of its habitat.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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