The serval (Felis serval
) has been called the "spare parts" cat. It has the longest legs of any feline in proportion to its body, a long neck, a small head, and large oval ears. They live in the tall grass and woodlands of Africa
, so these ears help them detect available prey
, especially as they are nocturnal
. They eat whatever small animals they can catch -- hare
s, guinea fowl
(even jumping up to catch them in the air), rat
, even livestock
. They will even sit at the entrance to a burrow
waiting for its occupant to come out. It has been estimated that one serval would eat 4000 rodent
s, 260 snake
s, and 130 bird
s per year.
They have golden fur with black spots, which has made them a target of hunters; they are also eaten by some African cultures, and attacked by leopards and dogs. Habitat depletion also affects them.