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The African Serval Cat, a graceful, athletic feline native to Africa, this medium sized wild cat is a cousin to the Cheetah. 19 pages of classic original Serval images, one per month, 13.5" x 19", high quality linen paper in an elegant design. July-Dec 2008, and Jan-Dec 2009 (18 months) calendar.
Printed: 19 pages, 13.5" x 19", coil binding, white interior paper (100# weight), full-color interior ink
So What is A Serval?
A Serval is a medium-sized wild cat native to Africa. He is one of the most striking cats of the savannah plains. He has bold black spots and a golden coat, long legs, a lean, athletic body, and huge ears. The Serval is distantly related to and looks like a small cheetah.
The Latin name for Serval is “Laptailurus Serval.” Accomplished hunters, Servals can achieve speeds as fast as 45 miles an hour. They are incredible jumpers, able to knock birds from 8-10 feet from the air, or long jumps of up to 20 feet. The ear is specialized and unique in the feline family. He has enlarged auditory bullae and pinnae, which are capable of hearing ultrasonic high frequencies emitted by rodents underground or up to 20 feet away. His athletic body and long legs enable him to pounce with accuracy. He catches approximately 50% of the prey he attempts to catch, a very high ratio. He prefers to live in grasslands near water where rodents, birds, frogs and bugs are plentiful.
In the wild, the Serval is a solitary cat, preferring to be alone. They are crepuscular (hunting at dusk and dawn), and tend to rest during the day and nighttime.
What Do They Look Like?
The Serval has a slender build with long legs. The back legs are longer than its front legs making the rear appear high. In proportion to his body, the head appears small. The trademark ears are large and erect, with rounded tops and wide at the base. He has a long, slender graceful neck. The Serval coat is unique, tawny golden with bold black spots merging into stripes on top of the shoulders and neck. The tail has black rings, and the belly and inside of the legs is often white. There are melanistic Servals (black with black spots), and white Servals with grey or tan spots. Occasionally, Servals are born with white markings on breast, belly or toes.
Servals are protected by international law. Fourteen Serval subspecies are known. Subspecies in northern Africa are listed as endangered. All other subspecies are listed by CITES Appendix 2 as threatened. The Serval’s range covers a large part of central and southern Africa. However, since his specialized hunting is so closely associated with water, Serval populations are fragmented.
The Serval is hunted throughout his range for his attractive pelt, and in some locations for meat. Human population has encroached on his habitat, although he has been more successful in areas populated by humans that other wild cat species. Servals are not threatened with extinction but they may become so unless trade is controlled.
Personality and Behavior
Servals make a variety of different sounds which include snarling, growling, spitting, purring and a high pitched cry used to call other Servals. In the wild, he leads a solitary life, establishing territories of up to five square miles. Servals mark their territory by spraying continually, alerting nearby Servals to keep their distance.
Just How Big Are They?
A Serval weighs between 25 and 40 pounds, with females being slightly smaller than males. It's body length is 24 -36 inches with an added tail length of about 12 - 16 inches. The height at the shoulder is about 20-22 inches. Except for the shortness of the tail, there is a physical resemblance to the cheetah. Imagine a medium sized dog that is all cat.
Urban Myths and Serval Facts
Myth: Servals make wonderful pets.
Truth: Servals do make wonderful pets for The Right Person. What’s good about them is also what’s bad about them. Every Serval has a unique personality, but some traits are born to the species. They can leap up to 8’ high, and enjoy doing it. Imagine a Labrador retriever chasing his tail on top of the refrigerator. They are athletic, quick and spry. Imagine a 30 lb. cat trying to catch a moth… over your bed… at 3:00 a.m. They are intelligent, curious, and engaging. And able to carry objects like cell phones, purses and such to their favorite hang outs (which might be on the 8’ high plant shelf in the livingroom).
Myth: Neutered Servals don’t spray.
Truth: Almost all Servals spray, neutered or not. It is their wild nature. If you’re *lucky* enough to have one who doesn’t, you’re lucky!
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