Jimmi – Serval

Jimmi is a male serval (Leptailurus serval), named in memory of Dr. Jim Edwards, a veterinarian and friend to the foundation. Jimmi was born March 23, 2016, and is a main character in a children’s book currently being written.

Servals are unique for having the longest legs and largest ears of any feline in comparison to body size. Their fur is yellow, gold, and reddish, and the black spot pattern merges into stripes along its neck and back with horizontal stripes on the ears. Serval noises consist of high-pitched cries, snarls, growls, and spits, as well as purrs. The serval hunts rodents, lizards, and amphibians on the ground, but they can also climb trees to hunt birds. The large ears assist with hearing, enabling it to pinpoint small prey and uniquely long legs enable the cat to see over tall grass for signs of movement. The serval will leap vertically to pounce down directly onto its unsuspecting prey from above. Servals are also able to reach high speeds in a short run and are capable of jumping up to 10 feet off the ground to catch birds.

The species is normally solitary, with pairs coming together to mate only for a few days when a female comes into heat. There is no set breeding season for servals, though the spring season is more common for mating. The female will carry her young for about 74 days, before giving birth to between one and four kittens. While raising the young the female spends considerable time hunting and less time resting, to provide for her offspring. The young are chased off by the mother after around a year, to care for themselves.

Servals are found in Africa, south of the Sahara. They live in the open Savanna near wetlands on the edges of swamps and by the shores of lakes. Even though their habitat overlaps with the caracal, their prey are different, allowing them to coexist without competition. The main threats to servals are hyenas, leopards, dogs, and humans.

Serval Trivia: Serval are diurnal or nocturnal depending on the habits of the prey where they live.

Serval Statistics:

Body Length 25 – 40 inches
Body Height Up to 22 inches
Weight 30 – 45 lbs
Gestation Period 63 days
Litter Size 2 – 3 average
Life Span 8 – 10 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity
Location Africa
Habitat Grasslands, savannahs, forests, marsh, woods
Protection Status Least Concern