Scarlet - I think she is pregnant here.

The serval (Leptailurus serval) is long-bodied, long-legged, big-eared, lightly built cat with a lovely spotted coat. They are 24 to 36 inches long with a tail 1/3 to 1/2 of its head-length. It weighs between 20 and 40 lb. and stands from 21 to 26 inches at the shoulder. The base coloration can be from cream through tan and orange. The dark brown to black spots are in rows on the sides and stripes on the back. Both large and small-spotted types, depending on the location. The tail has several rings and a black tip. There are melanistic servals that have been seen in Aberdare Mountains, Mount Kenya, Mau Forest and Kilimanjaro.

Help! I've got spots on the rug! A group of youngsters.

They have extremely large funnel-shaped ears that are edged with black and have a large white spot on the back. The legs and neck are extremely long. These cats inhabit areas below the Sahara Desert, around rivers where there is heavy vegetation They hunt for rodents and birds. They are extremely agile and can jump great heights from a stand-still. They are also capable of short bursts of great speed. They are one of the most, if not the most, graceful of all the cats.

The serval is found in areas with good cover of grass, trees, reeds and scrub and water. They are solitary and mainly terrestrial. Hearing is the means for locating its prey and its long legs and neck assist it in tall grass. Their main prey in the wild are rodents, hares, small antelopes, reptiles and birds. They are capable of hearing and digging out mole rats under the ground. Servals can emit a shrill 'meow', and can growl and purr.

They are sexually mature at about 18 months but usually do not breed until 2 years of age. Litters can be 1-4 and are weaned at 3-4 months of age. Gestation is 66-77 days. In the wild, offspring can be nursed up to seven months.

A pair of our breeders napping.
In Captivity
Servals are not difficult to keep in captivity especially if they are hand-raised. As pets, an owner needs a deep understanding of their nature and why they do the things they do. They are highly trainable cats and can perform amazing feats of leaping and jumping to catch toys they like. Servals have a very strong prey drive and are relentless about any movements- bugs, mice, etc. They are wonderful at keeping a house free of mice and insects.

Servals can bond to one person if they are not properly socialized which can prove to be a problem if the owner needs someone to care for their cat at some time. Servals are capable of leaping very high and are high-energy cats that can have nearly uncontrollable spurts of energy at times. They need an owner who keeps track of their whereabouts at all times. Cats find many household pesticides and chemicals, extremely toxic, sometimes to the point of death. Dog products cannot be used on them for fleas, etc. You must animal proof your home before you add an exotic or even domestic cat to it.

All exotic cats should be trained to a leash and collar or harness when it is young so it will be able to take walks outside. You may never let an exotic cat run free outside, even in your own back yard.

Zinger is an 18 month-old male.

We recommend declawing for all exotic cats kept in captivity as education animals or pet/companions. A cat that is not declawed will tear your house to ribbons and scratch you also even in play. We declaw ours at 5 to 6 weeks when it is less stressful to the cat and healing is rapid. Also, the animal does not have strong self-cleaning instincts developed as yet and will not 'worry' the surgery sites.

These animals must be neutered to curb behaviors related to sexual hormone stimuli.

These cats need lots of play time due to their highly predatory nature. Games can be played with them that will help curb these natural predatory behaviors. They must have an outlet for their energy.

They must be socialized as kittens or they will remain hidden when strangers are present. They may stalk or watch young children. Caution must be exercised at all times with these cats and they must never be taken for granted.

Sarah at 4 months of age.
Additional Photos:

A youngster-about 10 months.
They go through a real teenage stage where they are lanky.
Scarlet, at 3 months - female
Charlotte and Sarah, a pair of 8 month old females
Scarlet comes of age!


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