Serval Essay

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The Natural History of Leptailurus Serval Christian Cintron, BIO 344.L05 INTRO Commonly referred to as the African serval or serval cats, the species Leptailurus serval is a medium sized feline native to the continent of Africa. Although it is widley spread throughout subsaharran, they have become extinct in some locations due to human predation. These elegant creatures are known for its remarkable resemblance of a cheetah with a beautiful fur coat that has spotted markings and long thing legs. Another distinguishable feature of the serval are its large round ears that face forward on top of their heads. These features help the serval hunt for prey giving it a relatively high success rate of about 50%. Physical description: The serval is a placental mammal that stands rather tall at a height ranging from 54 cm to 66 cm. Its body length measures from 59 cm to 92 cm. The serval also has a relatively short tail only about 40 percent of the body length ranging from 20 cm to 45 cm. Female weight can range anywhere from 15lbs up to 26lbs. The male can weigh anywhere from 20lbs all the way up to 40lbs. The serval has a relatively small head and very distinct tall, round ears. The color of the serval can vary amongst individuals ranging from off-white to a dark golden-yellow. More commonly however, servals have a tawny colored fur with black stripes that start at the head then transition into spots throughout the rest of the body. The fur helps them to blend in with the tall grasses that they usually roam in. The ear bullae of the serval are very well developed with a total length of about 22 percent of the head. This provides the serval with a very sharp sense of hearing. Systematics and paleontology German naturalist Jo... ... middle of paper ... ...reatened they will quickly head for tall grass or reed beds where they can get cover. If necessary, the African serval can also climb trees and swim but it is quite rare for them to do either. Sensory modalities The African serval has a very keen sense of hearing, which plays a crucial part in hunting for prey. As stated earlier, the serval has well developed ear bullae which are approximately 22 percent of the length of its head. This allows the serval to hunt its prey in tall grasses by listening to vibrations of rodents moving around. They are even able to hear rodents underground and will dig them up. Another feature of the African serval is its long slim legs that aid the cat in navigating through high grass and reed beds. Also, they have unusually large metacarpals that aid in its ability to leap 2 – 3 m in the air to catch, or pounce on prey.
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