Serval, also known as the Shrubby cat, (Leptailurus serval) is a predator, a mammal belonging to the widespread Feline family and the genus Serval. Home servals are very much appreciated by lovers of exotics for unusual external data and a livable, peaceful character.
Cats of this breed first appeared in the African expanses.. It was on the territory of this continent, under scorching sunshine, initially a fairly large number of servals felt very comfortable. Today, there is a rapid decline in the total population of wild cats.
It is interesting! In most cases, the reason for this situation is poachers who are seduced by chic animal fur and high demand for exotic pets.
Fourteen varieties of wild serval are known and well studied, which differ markedly in coat color. Relatively recently, breeders and lovers of all exotics have been able to establish that such wild cats can be successfully domesticated. As a result, domestic cats of the magnificent Serval breed appeared with very original external data.
Servals are slender and long-legged cats of medium size. The maximum body length of an adult animal varies between 90-135 cm, with a shoulder height of 40-65 cm. The weight of an adult serval is approximately 8-18 kg. Servals have very high paws and large ears that distinguish the animal from all representatives of the Feline family. The head of such an animal is quite miniature, and the tail is relatively short - within 30-45 cm.
According to a number of morphological characteristics, servals are considered close relatives of the lynx and caracal, but the color of such a wild cat is most similar to the coat of a cheetah. The wool is represented by a yellowish-gray background with the presence of dark spots and stripes. The area of the chest and abdomen, as well as the face of the African predator are white. The outer side of the ears is black with white or yellow transverse spots.
It is interesting! On the territory of the mountainous regions of Kenya, one can find black servals (melanists), the total number of which is almost half the population, and white servals with silver-gray spots are known exclusively in captivity.
There are some differences in the color of the geographic races of the serval. Wild cats living on the territory of sparsely forested or steppe regions are distinguished by the presence of sufficiently large spots in the color, which are located on a common bright background. Forest servals are characterized by a darker color, squat and fairly small spots. Previously, such wild cats stood out in a separate form, called "serval cats" or servalins.
The physiological indicators of servales established by standards today:
- the height of the animal at the withers is 40-55 cm;
- the length of an adult animal is 70-100 cm, excluding the tail;
- long legs and ears;
- proportionally folded body;
- correctly folded skeleton;
- weight within 12-18 kg;
- small head;
- elongated and wide ears sticking out like a lynx;
- nose and nose wide;
- nose is mainly black;
- eyes are almond-shaped, light in color;
- the tail is short and thick, 25-40 cm long.
Home servals are real giants compared to ordinary cats. The standard body color is represented by a pale yellow background with dark stripes and spots. The coat is short, thick and soft.
Important! It should be noted that the standards for the breed of domestic serval are not fully developed, therefore, when assessing the appearance, it is necessary to focus on characteristic and known data.
Serval is able to quickly get along with the owner, which is due to the calm disposition of such an animal and its sociability. It is noticed that representatives of this breed very quickly become a playful and rather affectionate favorite for the whole family. Experienced breeders recommend acquiring a serval even at a very young age, which will allow it to adapt more quickly to domestic conditions.
This breed is flexible, has a positive attitude towards training and education, and is also characterized by intelligence and the correct reaction to others. The meow of the serval is completely different from the voice data of an ordinary cat, and more closely resembles a bird's tweet. Such an exotic animal loves to play with soft toys and hang on cords or wires, therefore, when keeping a wild cat at home, safety measures must be observed.
According to the owners, servals are not at all devoid of such qualities as stubbornness and cunning, and African roots endowed the animal with dexterity and incredible resourcefulness. Nevertheless, servals are loyal and loving pets who love to compete and fool around, bringing an abandoned ball. A domesticated animal gets along very well with non-aggressive dog breeds, and is also friendly to its similar pets.
The average life span of a shrub cat in nature varies from ten to twelve years, and a domesticated exotic animal with proper care can live about twenty years.
Serval content at home
The most comfortable domesticated servals feel when kept in a private house. In an apartment, such a large and incredibly mobile animal can be too crowded and uncomfortable. For walks in the fresh air, it is advisable to purchase a leash with a collar or a special harness.
Care and hygiene
The animal is completely undemanding in care. A large and active cat should be allocated a separate place and personal space that will allow the pet to relax and feel safe. Walking should be frequent and long enough, which will satisfy the natural activity of a domesticated cat.
It is interesting! Standard measures for serval care include regular examinations by a veterinarian, as well as preventive vaccinations, the schedule of which is determined by a specialist.
Before the walk, the coat of the animal should be protected from ectoparasites by special means. Serval love to swim, so water procedures give them great pleasure. However, bathing such an animal too often is not recommended. Among other things, servals are quite easily accustomed to cope with the need for a regular toilet tray.
The basis of the diet of home serval should be represented by meat. In the wild, such a wild cat preys on birds and rodents, is able to eat insects, as well as reptiles. The home predator menu should be presented:
- raw or boiled vegetables;
- quail eggs.
In domesticated servals, all hunting instincts are very well developed, so sometimes such a pet can be given rats or mice. The diet of the animal is necessarily supplemented with mineral and vitamin supplements. Feeding the animal is carried out according to the schedule in the morning and evening. Servals need water, so they need 24-hour access to fluid. Experienced owners recommend a couple of times a month to arrange a pet with the so-called "hungry" days.
Important! Kittens need to be weaned from a cat at the age of two weeks and fed from the bottle with milk every couple of hours, which will allow the pet to grow not socially, but socially adapted.
Diseases and birth defects
Domestic servals rarely have serious health problems.. Such animals have a well-developed immunity, and are also practically not subject to the usual diseases of the Feline family. Among other things, African exotic predators do not have hereditary diseases.
Nevertheless, the residence of a serval among people necessarily imposes a number of certain requirements, therefore, immediately after acquiring a pet, it is imperative to check it with a veterinarian. It is important to remember that the vaccine for serval should not contain active viruses, and improperly selected solutions for vaccinations can cause the death of an exotic animal.
Small kittens have incomplete bones, so any fall from a height or even an unsuccessful jump often ends with quite serious fractures.
At home, you can contain exclusively "pure" servals that were born in captivity and were educated as a pet. Very well-established nurseries selling domesticated servals - Lunicorne, SavanahPremium, Savannah Golden Star, VipLeo and Royal Cats.
What to look for
The purchased animal must comply with several basic requirements:
- clean coat without bald spots or ectoparasites;
- the coat is even, characteristic of the type of color;
- clear eyes and clean ears without pathological discharge;
- clean nose characteristic staining without purulent or mucous secretions;
- long legs and ears with characteristic tassels;
- well-developed skeleton;
- correct proportions and beautiful addition.
The best option is to purchase a kitten aged two to five months. The animal should be mobile and active, with good appetite, without signs of helminthic invasion or digestive upset.
Serval kitten price
The cost of a serval currently depends on so many factors.. As a rule, the price of a kitten is set by the breeder independently, taking into account the average market value in the country. Today in Russia, the price of a small serval is approximately 400-450 thousand rubles. Some domestic and foreign nurseries that specialize exclusively in servals sell kittens at a price of 8.5-9.0 thousand dollars or more.
It is interesting! It should be noted that the cost of kittens for breeding is significantly higher than the price of animals that are designed to be kept as a castrated or sterilized pet.
Serval are practically the only wild animals from the cat family that are perfectly tamed and become affectionate, kind and devoted pet, but subject to the rules of upbringing. A socialized animal is completely safe and peaceful, most often smarter and quicker than some breeds of cats and dogs, and also easily and quickly converges with people.
Along with other cats, servals actively and constantly mark their territory regardless of gender. The smell of secretions secreted by the server is very poorly weathered and quite strong, so experts recommend that the animal be sterilized or neutered at the age of eight months.
Home servals often refer to symbols of high status and prestige of the owner. Such an animal is one of the most impressive and very shocking, truly original, exotic and unusual pets. Due to the special similarity of character and habits, servals are often compared with domestic dogs, which has made this species very popular in different parts of the world, including our country.