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The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

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Mammalogy Contacts

Jim Dines
Collections Manager
(213) 763-3400
jdines@nhm.org

David Janiger
Curatorial Assistant
(213) 763-3369
djaniger@nhm.org

 

Serval

Felis (Leptailurus) serval (Schreber, 1776)

Serval diorama in the African Mammal Hall

Scene:

 Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

Sponsor:

 William J. Cheney

Background artist:

 Duncan Alanson Spencer

The serval is a specialized hunter and has very acute hearing  to help pinpoint its small prey.  Its long legs also let the serval see over the tall savannah grasses to detect signs of movement of potential prey.

Servals have been extensively hunted for their fur. They are still common in West and East Africa but are now extinct in southernmost Africa and very rare north of the Sahara.

Male servals have been bred to domestic cats to produce the Savanna Cat breed. Servals have also been bred with caracals (their nearest relatives) to produce servicals and caravels.


Biological Information

Range map for the serval

Range:

Sub-Saharan Africa except Congo Basin and southern tip of Africa.

Habitat:

Open savannas to high mountain meadows.

Status:

Declining in areas of dense settlement.

Diet:

Carnivorous: small antelopes, hares, lizards, rodents, birds.

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for serval.