Thursday, September 1, 2016


It’s not a giraffe, and it’s no ordinary cat! It’s a Serval.

The Serval is nick-named ‘Giraffe Cat’ because of its long slender neck. This particular species of cat is built for height. Its long neck and legs, which are the longest of all cat species relative to body size, allow it to see over the grasslands in which it lives.

It’s a beautiful animal, so this week I decided we would meet the Serval and learn a bit about him.

We’re not certain, but the name "serval" could have been derived from the Medieval Latin words Lupus cervalis ("deer-like wolf") or from the Portuguese Lobos cerval (referring to the Lynx). The first recorded use of this name dates back to 1771 (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Photo credit: San Diego Zoo

As I said, the Serval has the longest legs relative to body size of any of the wild cats. You might think that these longs legs would be used for speed in catching their prey, but that’s not the case. Their long legs lift them up as though they were on stilts so they can see over the grassland in which they live. The Serval also uses its long legs to leap into the air to catch birds and insects.

Here’s a great video which demonstrates the Serval’s ability to leap and pounce. 

The Serval has another tool in its hunting arsenal. Besides its height over tall grass, it has enormous ears. It can hear the slightest sound of prey wandering on the ground. They prefer to hunt at night in the grass, relying on sound alone to find their prey. It’s then that large ears come in handy. Servals are also known to sit placidly by a burrow waiting for an unsuspecting critter to pop up.

The Serval is a stunning cat. Its tawny coat is covered with spots which tend to merge into stripes. The coloring helps to camouflage them in their environment. The tail of the Serval is only about one-third of the body length, which is unusual for a wild cat. They stand about twenty-one to twenty-four inches at the shoulder and can weigh anywhere from eighteen to forty pounds. The females tend to be a bit lighter.

Photo credit: McDonald Wildlife Safari

Photo credit: Zoos Victoria (

The below map shows the range of the Serval. Although they are not considered endangered, degradation of their habitat by humans put them at risk. Also, their fur is prized, and they are hunted widely for it.

Serval Range
Photo credit: servalrange.png

As always, I try to bring you a video that I believe is informative and therefore worthwhile to watch. This is one of them. Please take a few minutes to watch. I know you’ll enjoy it.

If you’d like to read more about the Serval, visit any or all of the following sites.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope to see you again next week. Feel free to leave a comment and to share the post with friends and family. Your support is truly appreciated.


Jeanne E. Rogers, Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland, and
One Hot Mess, a Child’s Environmental Fable
Award Winning Middle-Grade Fantasy, Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!

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