African Servals are small, slender cats with a short tail and a small head. Their nickname, “giraffe cat,” comes from their extra-long neck and legs. At most, they weigh 40 pounds, yet they have the largest ears of any cat. If we had ears in the same proportion to our head as servals do, they would be the size of dinner plates!
Servals live near thickly planted streams and rivers in the savannas of central and southern Africa. Unlike many other cat species, they love to climb, leap, and play in water. If needed, a serval can climb a tree to escape from leopards, wild dogs, and hyenas.
Standing on its hind legs, a serval can jump more than 9 feet straight up to grab a bird right out of the air! Ultrasonic hearing allows the serval to hear the high-pitched communication of rodents. A serval can reach a long leg down into a rodent’s burrow to snatch a meal out of the tunnel. The cat’s long, curved claws can also hook fish and frogs right out of the water. With all these abilities, the serval has no problem finding something for lunch.