This is a photograph of a cat which is the result of a mating between a serval and a caracal. They are called Caravals, as I understand it. This is a young cat but the coat is very distinctly different to both the caracal and the serval and as expected it is somewhere in between the two, producing fine spots. Apparently Servicals are the offspring of a male serval and a female caracal. They first appeared by accident when a Los Angeles zookeeper kept the two cats together. They were given to a shelter and that is the last we heard of them.
Serval crossed with a caracal. Photo: Instagram page of F1Savannahs.
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Caravals are bred for the pet market. As both the serval and the caracal can be melanistic i.e. black, it would be possible to selectively breed black caravals. Sarah Hartwell, a colleague of mine, tells me that when a Caraval is mated back to a serval the offspring are 75% serval and 25% caracal. They resemble a serval. If a Caraval is mated back to a caracal the offspring are more caracal-like being tawny with fewer spots. My thanks to Sarah Hartwell.
The photograph is from a breeder of high filial Savannah and Bengal cats based in Los Angeles, California and Miami in Florida called F1Savannahs. You can read more about the serval by clicking here and the caracal by clicking here if you wish.
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