The Serval

Scientific Name: Leptailurus serval
IUCN Status: Least Concern (Sub-Saharan Africa), Critically Endangered (North Africa)
Weight: 20-50 pounds



Seven subspecies are currently described but are questionable; they are based largely on color differences and spotting which vary considerably within populations. The serval is a tall, medium sized slender cat with very long legs and a short tail measuring about a third of its body length.


Servals specialize in hunting small mammals in long-grass habitats. Rodents and shrews comprise at least three quarters of their diet. Small grassland birds are also important to the Serval’s diet. Reptiles and amphibians are opportunistically eaten.


Servals breed year round. Gestation is 65-75 days, and litters average 2-3 kittens. Exceptionally, up to 6 kittens have been born in captivity.