NAIROBI PARK DIARY

A hunting serval

To see a serval cat anywhere is very special, and the Nairobi National Park is a good place to find them

In Summary

• What a privilege to actually see a serval hunt and successfully catch prey

Serval catch
Serval catch
Image: GARETH JONES

When driving in the Nairobi National Park, always be prepared for those “suddenly” moments when you see something rare or special.

It is good to drive with your camera ON! and next to you if possible. Slow driving is obviously necessary for good sightings.

Well, such a “suddenly” moment happened when I saw a movement in the long grass near the Hyena dam. As I stopped and looked, a beautiful serval cat emerged.

It hunted by listening with its radar-like ears, then stalked and pounced as it dived into a small bush. After a short interval, the serval cat turned with a large rodent in its mouth and walked away triumphantly with its meal.

Wow! What a privilege to actually see a serval hunt and successfully catch prey.

The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a medium-sized African wild cat. DNA studies have shown that the serval is closely related to the African golden cat and the caracal.

Servals have the longest legs of any cat, relative to their body size. Another distinctive feature of the serval is the presence of large ears and auditory bullae in the skull, indicating a particularly acute sense of hearing.

To see a serval cat anywhere is very special, and the Nairobi National Park is a good place to find them. They are not common and are difficult to see due to their markings, some people could mistake them for a miniature cheetah, but they are much smaller than cheetahs. They also have a shy, reserved nature; their habits are often sneaky and secretive.

So next time you are thinking about what to do with recreational time, why not come and spend it in the Nairobi National Park, relax and enjoy taking in the “Soul Tonic” of God’s creation?