Last week, we talked about the ocelot, an adorable South American cat. This week we’re going to be talking about another type of wild cat who you may not know a lot about: the serval, who lives in a wide range across Africa.
1. Servals have a base coat of sandy brown with dark spots and stripes on the back of their head. The back of the serval’s ears are also black, with identical white patches.
2. Servals are carnivores and rely primarily on their hearing to track down prey, as opposed to their eyesight or smell. The diet of a serval is comprised of small mammals, birds, and lizards.
3. The sounds that a serval can make are similar to those of domestic cats. They can purr, meow, hiss, and chirp, as well as growl and make a sound similar to a cackle.
4. The serval is neither diurnal or nocturnal. They are active at several times throughout the day and night, with the times of highest activity most commonly being midnight, dawn, and late afternoon. During the hottest part of the day, they rest in the shade.
5. Servals are remarkably efficient and skilled with hunting. Of the servals observed, they make the kill successfully over half the time. Mother servals are actually much more successful than most, with a success rate of around 60%.
6. Mother servals give birth to litters of one to four kittens in the abandoned burrows of porcupines or aardvarks. At one month, the mother weans the kittens off of her milk and hunts for them, and at six months of age, they can begin to hunt for themselves, because that is when their teeth fully develop. The kittens are fully grown and ready to leave the dens starting at a year old.
7. The savanna cat is a hybrid between the serval and a domestic cat that was first bred in 1986. The savanna cat is slightly larger than the domestic cat and have the spotted pattern of the serval, but is tame and follows their human around. The savanna cat is also a good swimmer.
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