The serval is most active from dusk to dawn, but will sometimes hunt during the day, particularly when the weather is cool or overcast (4) (7). Moving slowly through long grass, it uses its huge ears and height advantage to detect prey in the surrounding vegetation. On locating prey, it stealthily approaches and then pounces up to three metres into the air to strike down with its forepaws (4). This technique is typically employed to catch rodents and other small animals off the ground but remarkably the serval is also able to catch birds and insects in flight (2) (4) (5). As a less energetic alternative to pouncing, the serval will also use its long legs to investigate holes and crevices, and will sometimes venture into water to catch live fish (4). The serval is typically a solitary species with pairs only coming together for a few days when the female is in heat (4) (5). The gestation period lasts around 74 days, after which the female normally gives birth to a litter of one to four kittens (2) (4). When with young, the female is forced to spend considerably more time than usual hunting and consequently less time resting. After around a year, the female chases the young from the natal area but tolerate female offspring for a few months longer than males (2).
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