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Serval Kitten update

Monday, March 22, 2010 9:39am

Our beautiful “little” Serval kittens are 11 weeks old and growing so fast! Their ears and legs are starting to getting bigger and longer and they are getting more confident by the minute. A lot has happened since we first released news of our kittens to the world - they have had their first and second vet check and now can be seen out in their exhibit across from the African Lions.

At the six week health check our kittens were vaccinated, micro-chipped, weighed, sexed and given a visual check over by our Senior Veterinarian, Wayne Boardman. We are pleased to announce we have three very healthy Serval kittens consisting of two girls and a boy, each roughly weighing 2kg. Once the kittens were given the all clear by our vet it was time to work on getting the exhibit ready to let them out.

A lot of work went into getting the exhibit ready for our cute and curious kittens. Our great maintenance team, Mark and Russell, were in charge of “kitten-proofing” the exhibit. This particular exhibit has never housed animals as small as the kittens so we had to think on a very small scale. This involved checking the whole exhibit for escape hatches and any places that the kittens could potentially get themselves into trouble and then repairing them. Then our great horticulture guru, Jason, came in and planted grasses and added 2 tonnes of sand to the exhibit. Not only does the grasses and sand make the exhibit look like an African Savannah but also provides enrichment for the Servals, they can eat and play in the grasses and dig in the sand.

Once the exhibit was finished we gave Kali and her kittens access. Kali was first to come out, only briefly and then ducked back inside only to return moments later with three kittens in tow. What a magical sight to see all four of them come out together. All four stayed close to mum and the door that leads into the back area but the kittens got straight into exploring, playing, pouncing and chasing. It's now two weeks later and the kittens make use of the whole exhibit, that includes climbing up the trees and hiding in the hollowed out log that dad, Maji, likes to sleep in. And funnily enough to Jason's delight, the kittens have flattened and eaten a large majority of the grasses he planted.

Kali is doing a magnificent job as a first time mum. She is always keeping a close watch on the kittens but letting them explore the exhibit, she is probably enjoying the “alone” time when the kittens are not jumping on her and biting at her tail. If one of the kittens calls for her, she is there in an instant and is always there when one of the kittens takes a tumble. The kittens are still occasionally suckling from mum but are regularly helping themselves to the horse meat and chicken we feed Kali.

Not only does seeing these magnificent animals playing in the exhibit bring joy to all the staff and volunteers at Adelaide Zoo and our visitors but it has given unexpected enrichment to some of other Carnivores in the area. Our African Lions, Mujambi, Amani and Yizi, can be seen intently watching the kittens and Kali out in the exhibit.
Seeing our kittens out in the exhibit can be a little unpredictable at the moment, being that they are still getting comfortable with the new surroundings and sounds, so if you come by and don’t see them please try again during the day or have a look at the footage taken of the first day our kittens went out onto exhibit.




I saw the kittens a few weeks ago when I came to the Zoo with my school. They were the cutest things and it was wonderful to see them out and about. As we watched them we saw once cub give Kali a bit of grief. The cub kept on going where she didn't want it t go and she kept on trying to drag the cub back, but needless to say she failed a few times. =) They are such wonderful creatures. Kali is an execellent mother. :)
Posted By: Bronwen Wills on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 8:12pm

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