Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Acrobatic Felines: The Serval

This birthday post goes out to Maiji Castro, happy birthday Maiji!  If you have a birthday coming up, just email me the date at with the date and your favorite animal, and I will do my best to get a post in!

Today, the serval is going to be added to our pantheon of acrobatic felines!  The serval (Leptailurus serval) is another one of those mid-sized cats, like the caracal, bobcat, and lynx, and is actually closely related to the caracal!  DNA studies place the serval in what is frequently referred to as the "Caracal Lineage," with the serval being the basal-most, or the earliest to split off, of these three cats.  The other two are, of course, the caracal, and its closest relative, the African golden cat.

So that tells us about the serval's phylogenetic position in the feline family tree, but what else do we know about this interesting creature?  And how is it so acrobatic?  Well, the serval, much like the caracal, is a jumper, perhaps not quite as high of a leaper, but nevertheless an amazingly nimble cat.  It's incredible jumps are assisted by its long legs: in fact, the serval has, in relation to its body size, the longest legs of any feline.  To see the incredible leaps of the serval, click on the link below!

A Pretty Awesome Serval Jump!

The serval is labeled "Least Concern" by the IUCN, and has a very wide distribution across the continent of Africa, excluding deserts (like the Sahara) and the equatorial jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the neighboring countries.  The serval once inhabited the countries of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, as well, but seems to have been extirpated (caused to go extinct in one country as opposed to extinct overall; a local extinction).  It is also now found in Tunisia again, but was reintroduced there by humans.

Four albino servals have been documented throughout the years, all of which were born in captivity.  One was born in Canada in the early '90s, but died just a week or two after birth.  The other three were all born at Florida's excellent cat sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue.  (If you want to see a ton of really, really cute pictures, click on this link HEREEEEEEEEEEEEEE to their Facebook page.  Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed!)  One of these three died a few years back, but they still have two!  First is Pharaoh, who is featured in the picture below, and Tonga, who is featured in all of the rest of the pictures, and who recently overcame nose cancer.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...