The Serval cat (Leptailurus serval) is a medium sized, spotted African wild cat, often confused with leopards and cheetahs due to their similar coloring. With its long legs and large ears the Serval is well adapted to hunt small rodents in grassland and wetlands; habitats which are under increasing threats through loss and degradation. The Serval cat is well known in America as one of the exotic felines bred for the pet market.

Serval (Leptailurus serval) Unique Facts

~ Proportionally the longest legs of all wild cats ~

~ Proportionally the largest ears of all wild cats ~

~ Endemic to Africa ~

Serval (Leptailurus serval)
Leptailurus serval in Serengenti, Tanzania
By Self (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Image Source

Serval (Leptailurus serval) Classification

The taxonomy or scientific classification of the Serval species (Leptailurus serval) is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia   (animals)

Phylum: Chordata   (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia   (mammals)

Order: Carnivora   (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia   (cat-like)

Family: Felidae   (cats)

Genus: Leptailurus

Species: Leptailurus serval (Serval)

 

Serval (Leptailurus serval) Subspecies (lower classifications)

The Serval conservation status is Least Concern (LC) globally as it is widespread throughout sub-Saharan Africa. However it is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) for the Mediterranean region due to regional extinctions in North Africa.

Historically up to eighteen subspecies of serval have been described, however the latest taxonomic revision proposes only three subspecies, pending further research:

1. Leptailurus serval serval - Southern Africa

2. Leptailurus serval constantina - West and Central Africa

3. Leptailurus serval lipostictus - East Africa

References:

  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. <www.iucnredlist.org> Serval leptailurus. 23 May 2017.
  • Kitchener et al. 2017. A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN / SSC Cat Specialist Group.

 

Serval (Leptailurus serval) Conservation and Research

The following organizations are involved in wildlife conservation in Africa, and their efforts in securing wild habitat will help ensure the Serval's continued existence:

 

Serval (Leptailurus serval) Facts and Information

The following links will take you to websites with well researched and authoritative information on Servals:

  • Serval Fact Sheet - ARKive
  • Serval Information - ISEC
  • Serval Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive
Recommended Books about all Wild Cats
Wild Cats of the World - Luke Hunter Luke Hunter 2015
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Wild Cats of the World - printed book
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The Wild Cat Book - Sunquist Fiona and Mel Sunquist 2014
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The Wild Cat Book - printed book
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Small Wild Cats - Sanderson and Watson J. Sanderson & P. Watson 2011
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Small Wild Cats - printed book
Small Wild Cats - eBook

Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids D.Macdonald & A.Loveridge 2010
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Biology & Conservation of Wild Felids - printed book
- eTextbook version

Wild Cats of the World - Sunquist Mel and Fiona Sunquist 2002
(general and academic interest)
Wild Cats of the World - printed book

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