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A female serval with cub in Masai Mara National Reserve. Javier Yanes/
'Felis serval'
Swahili: Mondo

Best parks to see it: Masai Mara

The serval is a solitary cat that can resemble a small cheetah, with its spotted body and small head. It is quite larger than a domestic cat, measuring up to 3 ft or 1 m, and has distinctive large ears and spots aligned nearly in stripes along the shoulders and back. In high mountain parks like Aberdare there is a melanistic (black) variety.

Servals live in grasslands or open bush and like to conceal themselves among the long grass, where they search for their prey consisting of small mammals or birds. They also roam around swamps looking for amphibians, small reptiles and waterfowl. Though they are mostly nocturnal, they can be seen trotting through the long grass at dawn or dusk.
A female serval with cub in Masai Mara National Reserve. J.Y./


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The Big Five
Other mammals