FOOTHILL FELINES SAVANNAHS
The Serval Cat
The African Serval Cat
Male and female servals each maintain separate territories and basically lead very solitary lives. Female servals hold exclusive territories from about two to two and a half square miles in area. Male territories are usually twice the size of the female, and will overlap two or more female territories. Boundaries are clearly defined with frequent scent and scrape marks. Servals continually spray with urine to mark their territories. This is a very effective warning to a serval from an overlapping territory to keep its distance when it encounters the sprayed markings of the first serval. Male servals have been observed to display very ritualistic aggression behavior, by sitting and facing one another as one animal puts his front paw on the other's chest. The second serval then bobs his head and may bite the upraised paw. This exchange can escalate into a full fight, but more often remains as a protracted stare-off. When defending themselves, these cats will growl loudly and arch their backs. Adult males have also been observed to display some affectionate social behavior, by resting together during the day.
Servals are considered to be mostly nocturnal, hunting by relying upon their senses of sight and sound more than scent. In areas where the habitat and routine of the serval cat has not been altered or disturbed by human activities, they can also be found hunting and being active at dawn and again at dusk. Servals enjoy hunting their food, and will sometimes play with their prey before eating it.
Growling, snarling, spitting and purring are among the many interesting and varied sounds and noises made by the serval. Servals also use a special high pitched cry when they are calling to other serval cats.
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