Serval adoption comes with:
The fee for adopting an animal is based on a 3 month contribution to provide food, heating and enclosure maintenance, animal husbandry costs and veterinary fees for your favourite animals. You will also be assisting ongoing conservation projects at Exmoor Zoo.
You will receive
- An adopters certificate
- A complimentary zoo admission ticket for two people to visit the zoo (value £29.90 as of 2019)
- A name plaque in our tunnel of fame for one year
- A photograph of your favourite animal
- Periodic zoo news updates
Any individual Zoo Animal can be adopted, but this is limited to 4 adoptions per year (one adoption per person for each 3 months of the year - maximum of 4 per year).
If this is a gift please note this in delivery instructions and use the delivery address to send the adoption package to.
The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a wild cat native to Africa. It is rare in North Africa and the Sahel, but widespread in sub-Saharan countries except rainforest regions. On the IUCN Red List it is listed as Least Concern.[ Across its range, it occurs in protected areas, and hunting it is either prohibited or regulated in range countries.
It was first described by von Schreber in 1776.It is the sole member of the genus Leptailurus. Three subspecies are recognised. The serval is a slender, medium-sized cat that stands 54–62 cm (21–24 in) at the shoulder and weighs 9–18 kg (20–40 lb). It is characterised by a small head, large ears, a golden-yellow to buff coat spotted and striped with black, and a short, black-tipped tail. The serval has the longest legs of any cat relative to its body size.
The serval is a solitary carnivore and active both by day and at night. It preys on rodents, particularly vlei rats, small birds, frogs, insects, and reptiles, using its sense of hearing to locate prey. It leaps over 2 m (6 ft 7 in) above the ground to land on the prey on its forefeet, and finally kills it with a bite on the neck or the head. Both genders establish highly overlapping home ranges of 10 to 32 km2 (4 to 12 sq mi) and mark them with feces and saliva. Mating takes place at different times of the year in different parts of their range, but typically once or twice a year in an area. After a gestational period of two to three months, a litter of one to four is born. The kittens are weaned at the age of one month and begin hunting on their own at six months of age. They leave their mother at the age of around 12 months.
The serval is a slender, medium-sized cat; it stands 54 to 62 cm (21–24 in) at the shoulder and weighs 8 to 18 kg (18–40 lb), but females tend to be lighter. The head-and-body length is typically between 67 and 100 cm (26–39 in).Males tend to be sturdier than females. Prominent characteristics include the small head, large ears, spotted and striped coat, long legs and a black-tipped tail that is around 30 cm (12 in) long. The serval has the longest legs of any cat relative to its body size, largely due to the greatly elongated metatarsal bones in the feet. The toes are elongated as well, and unusually mobile.
The coat is basically golden-yellow to buff, and extensively marked with black spots and stripes. The spots show great variation in size. Melanistic servals are also known. Facial features include the brownish or greenish eyes, white whiskers on the snout and near the ears, ears as large as those of a domestic cat (but large relative to the size of the head) and black on the back with a white horizontal band in the middle, whitish chin, and spots and streaks on the cheeks and the forehead. Three to four black stripes run from the back of the head onto the shoulders, and then break into rows of spots. The white underbelly has dense and fluffy basal fur, and the soft guard hairs (the layer of fur protecting the basal fur) are 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long. Guard hairs are up to 3 cm (1 1⁄4 in) long on the neck, back and the flanks, and are merely 1 cm (1⁄2 in) long on the face. The closely set ears are black on the back with a horizontal white band; the ears can rotate up to 180 degrees independently of each other. The serval has a good sense of smell, hearing and vision.
The serval is similar to the sympatric caracal, but has a narrower spoor, a rounder skull, and lacks its prominent ear tufts. The African golden cat is darker, with different cranial features. It resembles the cheetah in its build and coat pattern, though not in size. The serval shares its adaptations to its marshy habitat with the jungle cat; both cats have large and sharp ears that help in locating the prey efficiently, and their long legs raise them above muddy ground and water.