Serval - Felis serval

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Lion - Panthera Leo | Leopard - Panthera pardus | Cheetah - Acinonyx jubatus | Caracal - Felis caracal | Serval - Felis serval | African Wildcat - Felis lybica | Small spotted Cat - Felis nigripes


Afrikaans Tierboskat
Zulu Ndlozi  Tswana Tadi Shona Nzudzi Venda Didingwe
Photo Gerhard Swart

4 cm


8 cm
Grey, contains rodent fur
Scratch marks on ground

Visible Male/Female Differences

Males larger than females.

Habitat and Distribution

Bushveld grassland near water. 


Mostly rodents but also eats birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Occasionally raids poultry pens.


Litters of up to three are born in dens amongst long dense grass or under bushes during September-April after a gestation of 65-75 days . 

Behavior and Habits

Solitary or in pairs. Active during dusk and at night and until late morning. Prey is located by sight or hearing and caught with high, arching pounce. Birds may be snatched from the air with spectacular jumps. They often play with their hapless prey items. Territories 15-30 sq km overlap each other. Both males and females scent mark with urine, and rub their faces on grass or soil. 


Growls, hisses, snarls and purrs.

Dung and Field sign

Dung is light grey, up to 2 cm in diameter and contains rodent hair. Scratch marks on the ground near dung.


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