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Aspects of the Ecology of the Serval Leptailurus Serval in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

A study was conducted of the serval, Leptailurus serval, in the mainly open grassland and marsh habitat of the Ngorongoro Crater. The aim was to collect information on serval distribution, density, ranging patterns, feeding habits and social interactions. During a 4-year period 12 individuals habituated to the observer were followed and quantitative data collected. Adult males and females were found to occupy over several years the same individual home ranges, extending over at least about 10 km2, with relatively little overlap. Within each range one or two 'core areas' could be recognized in which the occupant of the range was most frequently sighted. When reaching adolescence young servals are expelled from their mother's range and roam about until they manage to establish a range for themselves. Ranges are claimed by means of recurrent marking behaviour. Data are presented on usage of the range and particularly on the hunting techniques and the kinds of prey taken. In addition to prey, grasses were regularly eaten. Data on food were collected by following and watching the servals as well as by faecal analysis. The data allow a comparison of the time spent on different activities and give a representative picture of the course of activity round the clock and over the seasons.

Affiliations: 1: Serengeti Research Institute, Tanzania


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