Come See the New Serval Kitten at the Central Florida Zoo!

serval kittenA serval kitten was born at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens on May 14, 2015. Though un-related, both parents were born in June 2013 and came to the Central Florida Zoo in August 2013 when they were just two months old! For the first time, mom and kitten will be available for guest viewing during Zoo hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) beginning September 18, 2015.

A serval is a medium sized wild cat native to the long grass savannas of Africa where there is plenty of water. They weigh 30 to 40 pounds as adults and are excellent predators with a 50% success rate when hunting. Servals have the longest legs of all cats, relative to their size, and can jump 10 feet into the air. This allows them to leap vertically and catch prey such as birds right out of the air. They also have large ears with sensitive hearing that allows them to locate small mammals moving through the grass or underground, and to hunt their prey sometimes without even seeing it until the final pounce.

The main threats to servals are leopards, dogs, and of course, humans. Their beautiful spotted coats make them a prime target for poachers, who market and sell their skin as young leopards or cheetahs, which can attract large prices on the black market. Servals also have a tendency to attack poultry, which angers farmers who then hunt and kill them.