Don't mention the big ears to a proud mum
PUBLISHED: 17:30 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:32 13 February 2019
Two new bundles of fluff are ready to greet the world at Africa Alive!
No mother likes to hear anything other than admiring comments said about her babies.
But one mum must be used to lines straight out of Little Red Riding hood when visitors spot her gorgeous children.
‘Oh what big ears you have,’ is a typical first comment when visitors to Africa Alive! spot the latest new furry arrivals at the zoo.
Strong, healthy and adorable, two serval kittens are being proudly displayed by mum Milia.
The two were born in November and, after several weeks while they found their feet and had their vaccinations; they are ready to face the world.
The fluffy pair are the first litter of Dad Shango and mum Milia, who arrived from Parc Zoo du Reynou and Touroparc zoo in France in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
After a pregnancy lasting approximately 73 days, Milia gave birth in a private area, away from any distractions.
An Africa Alive spokeswoman said they were delighted to welcome the kittens: “There are very few zoos within the U.K that keep this species, so this is yet another important addition to the park and a great chance to come and see a family of unusual and very attractive African felids.”The fluffy pair would have weighed on average between 250 – 300 grams at birth and their eyes opened at around two weeks.
The serval is a wild cat native to Africa. It is rare in North Africa and the Sahel, but widespread in sub-Saharan countries except rainforest regions.
Beautiful and unusual looking, the serval has seemingly overlarge black ears with a distinctive white spot set on a small, delicate head and an elongated neck. The long slim hind legs are longer than the front, and their coats - pale yellow with black markings - can sometimes be confused with a young leopard or cheetah.
They eat a variety of prey, which they catch either by springing high into the air and landing on their victim, dispatching it with a blow from one of its forepaws or by jumping up to three metres to bring down a bird.
The female rears her kittens by herself and the serval makes typical cat noises, hissing, chirping and purring, growling and calling to one another.
Their spotted coat and their tendency to attack and kill domestic poultry make them a target for hunters.
Their golden coats make an effective camouflage, so watch closely at Africa Alive to spot the family.