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Serval Cat (Felis serval)or(Leptailarus serval)
Family Order: Felidae Carnivora
Local names: Mondo (Kiswahili), Emmondo (Luganda and many other
languages), Monzo (Kirabai), Engalirao (Lukonjo), Orumberembere (Lugbara),
Munjuli (Kinyiha), rndama mweli (Luhya), Lutuku (Lugisu),
Kurrbalit (Sebel), Kworo (Lwo), Bisdinaad (Somali)
head and body: 67 - 100 cm
height: 54 - 62 cm
tail: 24 - 35 cm
weight: 13 (10 - 18) kg males
11 (8.7 - 12.5) kg females
*COLOR- Spotted patterns of brown, tan, and black (Miniature
*Weight- 18 LB. TO 44 LB.
*Height- Average of 24 inches at shoulders; long slender legs and
*LIFE SPAN- Approx. 20 years
*Disposition- Curious, adaptable, playful through out their
entire life. They bond closely as kittens for a life long
relationship with their owners. Each individual cat has it's own
*HOUSING- Your home is all that is necessary for a single
Serval kept as a house cat but an additional outside enclosure is
nice for the feline. The Serval can be litter trained just as the
common domestic house cat. Some Servals sleep with their owners
and for some this is fun and enjoyable however, a thirty pound cat
on a three A.M. hunting excursion through your bedroom can be a
*FEED REQUIREMENTS- We recommend Zu-Preem brand feline
diet, which is specifically designed for non-domestic felidae, as
the sole source of feed and nourishment for the Serval.
Occasionally, some of the Hills Science Feline-CD Diet is a good
idea because its hard dry texture is beneficial to the Servals
dental health. This is a good preventative measure as you will
find most dentists reluctant to treat these fuzzy friendly
felines!! The average adult Serval will consume approx. $25.00
dollars worth of Zu-Preem per month which is very comparable to
the usual feed cost for the common family pet "Rover". Both of the
above mentioned feeds can be purchased from your local
*HEALTH CARE- An identical regimen of annual vaccinations
and worming programs ,as is required by the common American Short
Hair, is all that is necessary to keep the Serval maintained in
excellent health. We do recommend having all four paws of your
Serval declawed between four to six months of age.
description one can give a person that has no idea
what an African Serval Cat is, would be to say it looks like a miniature
cheetah. Most people have seen a Cheetah on the Discovery Channel or a
National Geographic special, so this at least gives them some idea of what
the creature looks like. Of course, the size of the two felines is quite
different along with many other differences, but the colors and markings
of the two felines are similar, and is a good starting point.
To be more specific, the Serval is one of the few spotted cats not on the
endangered species list. The formal biological description of the Serval
would be: FAMILY:-felidae, ORDER:-carnivora, SPECIES-felis(leptailurus)serval. The
species was formerly termed Leptailurus Serval, with a sub-species called
the Servaline because of the different color pattern (more numerous
smaller sized spots) until both were found in the same areas of Africa and
eventually found to be present in a single litter of cubs.
differences have now been attributed to the slightly different camouflage
needed in the different geographical areas in which the cat resides.
However, even though it has been determined that these cats with smaller
but more numerous spots are not in fact a subspecies, I still hear the
term "Servaline-like" used to describe this pattern of markings.
Green, in WILD CAT SPECIES of the WORLD, eloquently describes the Serval
as a medium sized elegant looking cat with very long legs, a relatively
small head and very large ears. The ground color of the coat is yellowish
buff with under parts pale, almost white. There are black spots on the body
which merge into stripes on the neck and upper part of the back. The short
tail has spots, which become rings towards the tip, whilst the tip itself
is black. The backs of the ears are black with white centers and there are
collar markings in the form of black stripes. An adult Serval weighs
between 18lbs. and 44lbs. on average, with the female being slightly
smaller in overall size.
An adult Serval stands approx. 24" at the shoulders and is close to three
feet long. The neck can be stretched upwards or to the side appearing
unusually long. This
of course enhances the hunting ability of the cat in the wild as it looks
for it's favorite prey, rodents, in tall grasses.
The extra long legs,
especially in the front, help the Serval to reach into rodent holes to
capture prey. The metatarsals of the Serval are extra long as opposed to
the elongated forearm of the Cheetah. The Cheetah's longer legs serve to
provide greater speed where the Servals gives them more reaching capacity.
This isn't to say Servals aren't fast but they do not quite posses Cheetah
speed. The Serval also feeds on birds and is quite proficient at catching
them as they have been noted to jump nearly 15 feet straight up to catch a bird on the wing. In certain situations, the Serval has been
known to work with a partner or two (usually male siblings), in order to
take small antelope as prey, although the Serval in the wild is usually a
solitary animal except during mating periods. Fish as well as rabbits are
also high on the menu list for the Serval cat. As you will find out if you
eventually own a Serval, they have a great fondness for playing in water
which is quite an uncharacteristic trait for many cats.
The Serval cat is distributed widely throughout Africa. They are
most common in the open savannas, from lightly bushed country to
forests, but particularly near marshy places or rivers. They
also are found on high mountain moorlands. In the tall grass a Serval performs his signature style of pouncing up and down in
pursuit of mice and other rodents. Their ears are not quite
radar's but close. Servals often hear their prey and react
rather than reacting to the sight of their prey. The Serval can
supposedly hear the motion of a rodent as far as 20 feet away in
the tall grasses of it's natural environment.
The Serval is mostly a nocturnal animal but sometimes can be
diurnal. They are considered mostly a terrestrial cat, as it's
long legs testify, however it can easily climb trees making it
arboreal as well. This is an example of the extreme adaptability
of the African Serval Cat.
The Serval makes a distinctive sound calling out what can be
described as a (HOW-HOW-HOW!). This sound actually sounds like
the loud chirp of a large bird more than it sounds like anything
we would associate with any kind of cat. They also pant much
like a dog and very unlike most felines. When aggravated the can
become quite "Hissy". My Servals have made noises much like a
repetitive grunt when they get overly excited playing with a
weed or something I am moving about on the ground. If they feel
they are cornered or in danger they certainly have
a growl just as does the lion or the common domestic house cat.
unusual a Serval is to most people, it is still a cat. Each with
its own likes and dislikes and with its own individual
personality. If bottle raised, some are very close to a common
"Lap Cat" while others, with the same up-bringing, don't care much
for being held for any length of time.
Servals have been kept as pets in the past in Africa as well as
many other parts of the world for thousands of years just as
they have been hunted for their pelts during this same time
period. I believe many of the Egyptian vases, so often seen and
displayed, to be fashioned after the Serval. The cats were kept
by the Egyptians. I would assume for practical reasons such as to
provide a defense for grains by being the great mousers they
are. They were also kept to protect a dwelling from the evils of
night until the Egyptian sun god, Rajh, arose in the morning
When exactly the breeding in the U.S. of the Serval began and
the keeping of them as pets in the U.S. began, I haven't been
able to determine with any certainty. But I do know it was somewhere around the turn of the century. As the fur
trade boomed in the 1920's and 30's, I am sure people took mercy
on some and made pets of them. East African Mammals, An Atlas of
Evolution in Africa, published by Academic Press, London,
mentions that the young will make handsome pets if reared from
infancy. It also mentions Servals in captivity living to 19
years old and the females staying fertile until the age of
fourteen. Much of the information in this text comes from
studies done on Servals kept in captivity as early as 1951.
I encourage everyone who owns a Serval to go to the library or
the internet and take in as much information as they can on the
activities of the African Serval Cat in the wild. This can only
help one's understanding of their instinctual behaviors, thus
enhancing the relationship between the cat and human when put in
the close relationship we refer to as "Pet" (Serval) and "Owner"
However, after living with Servals for sometime I feel sure that
my Servals refer to me as, "their human".
In my opinion, the Serval is the "top of the line" when it comes
to choosing between the exotic cats which are commonly kept in
captivity. They are only a little more than twice the size of a
common domestic breed which makes their keeping a practical
matter. Yet, one couldn't ask for a more unusual and exotic
looking pet. They are much more adaptable to new environments
and people than many of the other exotic felines and breed very
well in captivity. They are extremely playful with each other as
well as with humans they are familiar with. If a Serval is
raised from infancy with a great deal of attention and loving
care it has been my personal experience that, although they are
still a wild creature and not by definition domesticated, they
can become comparatively as tame and friendly as many species of
animals which are termed domestic. Their feeding requirements
and healthcare is similar in cost to that of the domestic cat
which once again promotes the Serval as the "top of the line"
exotic cat to be kept as a pet or as a propagator of its
AFRICAN SERVAL CAT Valley Exotics Serval Guarantee
All kittens are bottle fed and hand raised with lots of human exposure and
Prices include: Your bottle fed & hand raised kitten as well as a
Vet. Health Certificate (breeders of live animals can not guarantee a life
span; however, a buyer has 48 hours after they take possession of their
Serval to take the kitten to a veterinarian of their choice so at that POINT IN
TIME; Valley Stables and Exotics, our vet., the buyer, and the buyer's
vet. ALL AGREE this is a healthy kitten.), USDA Point of Origin Papers, and post-purchase
support to help with any questions that may arise. Transportation via
Delta Pet First Live Animal Cargo for all continental U.S. customers.
Our goal is a HAPPY BUYER, a HEALTHY KITTEN, and HOLDING THE HIGHEST
STANDARD OF INTEGRITY, while representing the Exotic Alternative Livestock
Industry. We will do all we can to earn your repeat business and your
personal recommendation to your friends and associates!
U.S.D.A.- USDA BREEDER LICENSED FACILITY
U.S.D.I.-U.S. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Import/Export License
U.S.D.I.-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Management Authority-C.I.T.E.S.
Permits Acquired for International Sales
for deposit and
for Serval Cats.
I would like to thank my customers for their referral, their
support, and their trust.
-- John K. Babb