Servals are small, slender cats with long legs, a thin body, a short tail, and a small head. Servals are super sleek. Their giraffe-like neck and legs have earned them the moniker “giraffe cat.” Servals have a tawny coat with black lines and patches, and their bellies are a creamy white colour.
They weigh up to 18 kilograms, and have the most oversized ears of any cat. How big are those ears, exactly? Our ears would be the size of dinner plates if they were proportioned to our heads like servals’.
Servals live in the grasslands of East Africa and Southern Africa, amid densely planted streams and rivers. These little felines, unlike many other cats, like climbing, leaping, and playing in the water. They are crepuscular, which means they hunt at dawn and dusk to avoid the heat of the day. Servals and caracals often occupy the same savannah environment and may compete for prey.
Servals are among the best hunters among cats. While other wild cats only succeed in one out of every five or six efforts to kill prey, servals succeed in roughly half of their attempts.
The serval’s main hunting technique is to “wait and see.” A hungry cat waits in the tall grass at dawn or dark, listening for approaching prey with its large ears before pouncing on its food. Instead of pursuing down a target like a cheetah, the serval leaps into the air and then drags the victim beneath its front paws, trapping it until the cat can deliver a lethal bite to the neck. This strategy is both effective and time-saving.