FOOTHILL FELINES SAVANNAHS
The Serval Cat
The African Serval
The name SERVAL is derived from a Portuguese word meaning "wolf-deer." The serval is one of seven species of small to medium-sized African cats. It has a slender build with long legs. Its back legs are longer than its front legs. It has a distinctly elongate skull with a small, slim head, set gracefully on a long neck, and large erect rounded ears. The ears are black in the back with very distinctive central white bars. Servals have the largest ears and the longest legs, relatively speaking, in the entire cat family. It is their feet, rather than their legs, which are actually elongated.
The serval's tail, which is short and reaches down to the hocks, is spotted, with 6 to 7 black rings and a black tail tip, and a white or light tan underside. The serval's coat is yellowish tan with black spots, bands and stripes, and each serval has a very unique coat pattern. Background colors of their coats can vary from buff red to a pale yellow gold. Generally, servals have large black spots which become vertical stripes on the neck and back. Some servals have a large number of small spots, which give them more of a speckled appearance. Usually, servals living in dryer habitats have larger and blacker markings. Black servals, also refered to as "melanistic", have been seen in some moutainous regions. There are also white servals, but these are extremely rare.
A serval weighs between 29 and 41 pounds (13.5 - 19kg). Its body length is 27 -39 inches (70 - 100cm) with an added tail length of about 13 - 17 inches (35 - 40 cm). The height at the shoulder is about 23 inches (60cm). Males are slightly larger than females. Servals are known as excellent climbers. Except for the shortness of the tail and the extreme ear size, there is a strong physical resemblance of the serval to the cheetah.
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