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You may never have heard of a serval cat before but if you’re a fan of wild cats, you’re going to love this one. From its cute, small face to its large ears, these cats are rare sights that you won’t ever forget. Despite what it looks like, they are actually pretty good hunters and should not be kept as pets.

What They Are & What They Do:

The serval is a medium-sized cat that can be found in southern and central Africa. Much like the leopard, these wild cats also have markings in their fur that are unique to each individual. These marking also help them stay camouflaged while moving through tall grasses. Compared to other cats, the serval has the biggest ears in relation to its body. Naturally, the size of their ears helps them detect where potential prey may be hiding. Besides using their hearing sense, they also have sharp claws that they use to capture animals like rodents, fish, snakes, birds and other small animals. Another advantage they have when compared to other wild cats is the fact that they’re successful 50% of the time when hunting, whereas the others can only claim a victory at around 10% of the time.

These animals prefer a solitary existence, only socialising during the mating season. The female raises the cubs until they are large enough to start hunting on their own, which is when the mother will drive away the males, the females stay longer until it’s time for them to start mating. Because they’re medium-sized cats, they do have a few predators such as hyenas, leopards and hunting dogs.

Interesting Facts:

  • The sounds they produce include: purrs, growls, snarls and high pitched cries
  • Females are pregnant for 65-75 days long and can give birth to 1-4 cubs
  • They can live up to 10-23 years old and weigh anything from 9kg to 18kg
  • They’re often found in areas near a body of water with bushes, tall grasses and reeds
  • When hunting, they can be seen pouncing on their prey from a jump as high as 3 metres
  • They are also known to grab birds mid-air when hunting
  • They have fairly short tails in relation to their bodies as well as when compared to other wild cats

Come to the Kruger National Park if you’d like to catch a glimpse of South Africa’s most famous wild cats – including the serval. Stay at Yingwe lodge, our details can be found here.