Home | About | Contact Us

Serval (Leptailurus serval)

Serval | Leptailurus serval photo
Leptailurus serval in Serengeti, Tanzania
Photograph by Budgiekiller. Some rights reserved.


The Serval is a large cat with reddish-brown fur with dark spots that sometimes merge into stripes down the back. The legs are very long relative to their body size and help them see over the long savanna grass. The head is proportionately small compared with the body and legs. The ears are very long and rounded with white stripes on the back. Serval from drier areas have larger more prominent spots than those from wetter areas..


Body length: 67cm - 100cm. Tail length: 24cm - 45cm. Height at shoulder: 54cm - 62cm. Males are larger than females.


Servals are found in open grasslands, wooded savanna, grassed upland, rainforest fringes (but not in the rainforest).


Servals are carnivores and eat small mammals such as hares, rats, ground squirrels. Also eats birds and frogs. They catch their prey by leaping and pouncing with both front paws. They often play with their prey before eating it. They can leap up to ten feet to catch prey. They have a high success rate at catching prey - on average about 40% of attempts are successful during the day and nearly 60% at night.


The female serval gives birth to a litter of one to four (average three) young after a gestation period of 67 to 75 days. The young are weaned after about 39 days


Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Dem. Rep. Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Serval | Leptailurus serval photo
Serengeti Serval
Photograph by Schuyler Shepherd. Some rights reserved.
Serval | Leptailurus serval photo
A young serval (Leptailurus serval) in Thoiry Zoo.
Photograph by Vassil. License: Public Domain.
Serval | Leptailurus serval photo
young servals (Leptailurus serval) in Thoiry Zoo.
Photograph by Vassil. License: Public Domain.