(Lepailurus serval)

Servals are medium-sized African wildcats.  Because of their very long legs, servals are one of the tallest cats in Africa.

Servals are nocturnal and do most of their hunting at night, unless another predator (or a human) interferes in their hunting.  The serval is particularly skilled at catching rodents, they are opportunistic and will prey on birds, hares, hyraxes, reptiles, insects, fish, or frogs if they are available.  Some serval have even been seen attacking larger deer-sized animals like deer, gazelle, and springbok.  Servals use an interesting plucking technique when consuming birds.  They will toss the captured bird in the air while thrashing its head from side to side.  This removes the feathers, which the serval doesn’t eat.  That’s one clever cat!

But as smart as they are, they are also powerful feline athletes!  Servals can reach speeds of up to 80 kilometers an hour!  They can also leap 12 feet (3.6 metres) in the air from a stationary position, landing on their target with sufficient force and precision to stun or kill their target.

Servals are extremely intelligent and demonstrate remarkable problem-solving ability.  They are not only mischievous, but they excel at outwitting their prey and will often play with their captured prey for several minutes before consuming it.