Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A shy, long-eared cat

The most exciting animal sightings for us are not usually the ones that have tourists jumping up and down. Given that we study hyenas that might seem kind of obvious! But also, living here allows us, or at least has allowed me, to look beyond the large, majestic animals to the smaller, shyer, or rarer ones. I now always get really excited when we see rare animals such as unusual birds or shy, small mammals. Most of these animals I did not know even existed until a few months ago.

Recently, I had my best serval sighting yet. Servals are medium sized, spotted cats with large ears. They use their ears to pick up sounds made by birds, rodents, and other potential prey. Servals can even hear noises made by their prey underground! Their long legs help them reach deep into holes and pull out their prey. At the same time, servals can jump high into the air and bat down birds!

The serval we saw was walking along a track in one of the marshy areas of our North territory. She or he was very calm and just let us follow her along the track for a few minutes. She paused for a bit and drank from a puddle before moving off into the tall grass and out of sight. I always feel so privileged to have such wonderful sightings of these more unusual or shyer animals.


Lily J-U said...

I love servals! Great photos!

Dan Thomas said...

Nice pictures Maggie !

Nora said...

Wow amazing shots, Maggie!!

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science