Serval (photo generously supplied by Big Cat Rescue)

Jumping from the Americas to Africa, we bring you the serval, a medium-sized cat weighing between 15-49 lb and standing between 52-66 cm tall,
depending on the sex. These kitties may remind you of another cat. If you are thinking “strange-looking, little, cheetah”, you would be thinking of the correct cat. In fact, it is believed that cheetahs are descended from an ancient serval.

Servals are classic creatures of the African savannah. Their black-on-tawny spotted fur is well-adapted for the environment, making them able hunters of small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Variations to this classical colouration exist. Just like the leopard, servals can be melanistic (i.e. black). These ones, again like leopards, are mainly found in more forest-dense, mountainous regions. There have supposedly been four white servals observed, but they were all born in captivity.

One thing you may notice upon looking at a serval is the size of their ears. These cats have incredibly acute hearing due to their rather large ears and prominent auditory bullae, which is a vital bone required to optimally hear, as they enclose part of the middle and inner ear.

And as though the serval wasn’t already a cool enough cat, it has one other feature that may be surprising: it has the longest legs of ANY cat for its body size! Wacky, right?

Many of these servals have found their way into the hands of private owners (instead of staying into their own private paws). And the story is “same old, same old”: the owners often don’t know what they are getting into, they adopt the cat, realize they can’t handle it, and then the cat often suffers. Well, not all cats- especially those that are salvaged by Big Cat Rescue.

Keep your claws tucked in your paws because we are still going full-force on adventures to Stay Wild,

Gabby Wild

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