The Serval is a small cat species found in Africa, they have incredible markings and will look good in any trophy room. Servals are closely related to the African caracal and African Wild cat. Mature males weigh in the region of 30 pounds and have a shoulder height of22 inches. Females are slightly smaller with an average weight of 20 pounds but stand just as tall as a male. Serval are immediately recognised by their abnormally long legs in relation to the rest of their body. Serval also have longer than normal toes for a cat and long, sharp claws, this is an adaptation to help them hunt small underground rodents in hard to reach places.
Serval can be hunted In South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ethiopia and Tanzania. To hunt Serval In south Africa you will need a TOPS permit which needs to be made out in the hunters name before the hunt commences. In Namibia a Serval permit also needs to be obtained to legally take one of these cats. Tanzania and Ethiopia require that a hunter has a 21 day license in order to hunt serval. In Mozambique there are very good specimens of Serval and many previous records have come out of Mozambique, Unfortunately no small cats may now be hunted in Mozambique. Zimbabwe allows for serval hunting on a 16 day license.
Serval are found mostly in the savannah areas of Africa, they are daily drinkers so will always have a home range close to a permanent water source. Interestingly this small cat does not inhabit dense jungle or forest areas, but are actually always found in areas where the grass is long making for good cover. Servals are nocturnal cats which allow them to successfully feed on nocturnal rodents and other small critters which come out at night. Their intricate markings of black spots and stripes give them a very functional camouflage at night. The legs of a serval are noticeably long for a cat of this size, this is an adaption which not only helps in the long grass but also gives them an advantage when going after prey which may hide in burrows or deep holes. Their long legs also help to catch birds in mid-flight.
Targeting a serval is difficult but can be attempted in an area where a serval has been seen or areas where serval are known to inhabit. Walking and stalking for a serval through such areas may produce a good specimen by chance, you will have to shoot quickly and accurately as their agility will help them disappear in no time. Serval hunting often takes place near to and on the outskirts of agricultural fields as there is a high concentration of rats and mice in these areas which attracts these small cats. You may run into a serval in these areas while the cat is busy hunting and thus providing a good opportunity. Hunting serval at night with artificial light is allowed in South Africa, but is illegal in Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. The use of dogs is also allowed in South Africa and Zimbabwe, but this method is not very common when targeting this cat in particular.
The male and female serval are tall and slender, the males are slightly heavier than females but it can be difficult to tell the difference when encountering a serval in the field. Any fully grown, mature serval will make for an excellent trophy and just being able to successfully take one of these cats is a trophy on its own. Be sure to consider a full mount after taking your serval, it will no doubt be the best way to see the true beauty of these animals
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