Saturday, July 08, 2006

Servals of Big Cat Rescue

The name Serval is derived from a Portuguese word meaning "wolf-deer." Native to Africa, Servals are found in well-watered savannah, long-grass environments, and are associated with reed beds and other riparian vegetation types. They occupy a variety of habitats all associated with water sources. Servals range up into alpine grasslands and can penetrate deep dense forests along waterways and through grassy patches, but are absent from rain forests.

Much like the big bad wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood" the Servals big ears are "the better to hear you with!" Unequalled in the cat world, the serval?s hearing allows it to locate, through echo-location, small mammals moving through the grass or underground, and to hunt her prey without seeing it until the final pounce. Primary prey items for the Serval includes rodents, birds, reptiles, fish, frogs and insects. Servals have a hunting success rate of 50% and as such are the most successful of all cat species. She also has the ability to leap vertically and catch prey such as birds, right out of the air. They do this by "clapping" their front paws together and striking with a downward blow.