Distribution and habitat
The serval lives mainly in savannas and open grasslands, but also in open forests, along the edge of the forest, in mountain heather areas and in reed beds around swamps. It mainly lives in areas with higher grass. It is found in most of sub-Saharan Africa (with the exception of dense rainforests and very dry deserts) and in Northwest Africa. The serval has disappeared in densely populated areas such as most of South Africa.
His diet consists of small mammals (up to the size of a hare), lizards, snakes, birds and insects. Sometimes fruits, fish and frogs are eaten and even young antelopes are sometimes hunted. The most important prey are mice, which they find by their excellent hearing between the high grass or under the ground. Thanks to its long legs it can look over the high grass. The maned wolf, a dog-like wolf living in South America, is adapted in a similar way to hunting rodents in areas with high grass.
It adapts its daily rhythm to the prey: if there are many day active mice like Arvicanthis, the serval hunts mainly during the day, nocturnal mice like Otomys and Dasymys are common, then it hunts mainly at night. Once it has found a prey, it jumps the animal with a fast jump. Underground prey is dug out or pulled out of their burrow with the long front legs. He can also grab birds with a jump from the air. The captured prey is plucked bare. Parts of larger prey are stored underground. Poultry is also eaten. It can cause a lot of damage to poultry farmers.