Black Serval Picture

This is a very rare photograph of a black serval. This particular cat looks young to me (subadult). When I first saw the photograph I thought, “what is that?” A strange looking cat. The serval is a bit strange anatomically; very long legs compared to body (the longest of all cats), small head, short tail, and radar dish ears.

Black Serval
Black Serval
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Normally the markings are inky spots against a pale yellowish background.

Black (also called “melanistic’) servals occur quite frequently in the highlands of Kenya and Ethiopia but photos of them are rare! In a survey in the area of the Aberdare Mountains of Kenya, 21 different servals were identified. Eight of them were completely black while five were black but less so.

Most black servals in Kenya are seen at 2,440 to 2,745 meters above sea level.

This is where the Aberdare Mountains are:

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

15 thoughts on “Black Serval Picture”

  1. I adore everything about this cat. His smudgy looking nose, that frown, and those EARS.
    Turn him around, Michael, so I can see that tail. LOL!

          1. OK
            But, those ears!
            You know what an ear freak I am.
            I hope to dream about them.
            I need a really good sleep with sweet dreams of them.

            1. The biggest cat ears of any cat wild or domestic because the serval hunts small mammals by detecting sound in long grass. It then pounces on where the mammal is even though it might not see the prey. It leaps up and thumps down to stun prey.

  2. -I am awestruck with this rare photo of the black serval*Wow*What incredibly long legs and neck. The ears look like a desert cat variety-but they live 2,745 feet above sea level?
    _Are they protected?
    Thanks Michael for posting this cat*
    Eva D.R.Force

    1. I feel the same way. A strange looking wild cat. And also a domestic cat in the USA and sometimes in the UK. They are no more protected than the ordinary serval. And most of the wild cat species live on farmland in Africa so are at risk of being killed by farmers. However, I wonder if the height helps. By the way I meant to say 2,745 meters above sea level not feet. This is 9,000 feet above sea level. This must protect them just like the snow leopard is protected in the mountains and the Bhutan tiger (the Bengal tiger in Bhutan) is protected having escaped to the foothills of the Himalayas.

      1. -Yes-I will investigate this Black Serval in detail over the weekend. I am sure living 9000ft above sea level affords it some protection.I hope the farmers show more favor in the future towards the serval cat. Thank You for replying Michael-

      1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        I was thinking exactly the same Michael before I saw your comment! The cat has a body and legs very similar to a horse, the front legs even look as if they have hooves!

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