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Kittens? What Kittens?!

Monday, May 03, 2010 12:49pm
Serval kittens 03.JPG serval kittens 02.JPG

Yes our Serval kittens certainly don’t look like kittens anymore! Our three Servals are four months old and, if you look quickly, can be mistaken for their mum, Kali.

At the last vet check and vaccination, they were weighing in at a healthy 3-4 kilos, so by now they would be in the 5 kilo range. Yes, we feed them very well, especially now that they are predominantly eating solid foods and are suckling from Kali much less. They get a great variety of food such as horse meat pieces, t-bone and ribs, rabbit and also feathered and unfeathered chickens. They also got a surprise of a rat each the other day.

I am also happy to say we have named our three kittens. I compiled a list of African names and each Carnivore keeper picked their favourite and in the end majority ruled and we named out kittens - Amiri for the boy and Sanura and Lisha for the girls.

Their personalities are definitely becoming pronounced. Sanura is the dominant one of the group and the biggest. She is the most inquisitive and confident and is starting to stand her ground when keepers go in exhibit with them. Lisha seems to be a bit of a mum's girl, will run off and play with the other two but always comes back to mum for a snuggle and quick head clean from Kali. Amiri is the smallest out of all three and tends to be a bit of a quiet loner. He does love to play with the girls and give them a run for their money but he always hangs back from the keepers and is last to come in for dinner.

These three provide endless entertainment for each other and also for anyone watching, especially when they are interacting with enrichment. They love everything we put in such as toilet rolls filled with dried liver, palm fronds, herbs, fresh grass, macaw feathers, snakeskin... just to name a few! I think the best enrichment so far has been pea straw, providing multiple uses as something to burrow into, hide and then ambush someone, wrestle in and take an afternoon snooze in.

The future for these three is they will remain at Adelaide Zoo for at least 1 year. This is important especially for the girls so they can learn from Kali how to be a good mum. Servals, just like most big cats (except for Lions), are solitary animals, so there will be a point when Kali will want her space back. We have been in contact with the Serval Studbook Keeper, who makes all the recommendations on movements and breeding of Servals in the region, and she will be in contact with other zoos to find homes for our three.

Until then I will continue to watch in amazement how fast these three are growing, how much they enjoy playing with each other and their special bond with mum. Kali, Sanura, Lisha and Amiri can be seen romping around during the day in their exhibit across from the African Lions, if not you will see their dad Maji.


Carnivore Keeper, Zoos SA


What a wonderful family of Serval's .
Love their names Arliah do they have a meaning.
Posted By: Carolyn Clark on Monday, May 03, 2010 7:01pm
Hi Carolyn, the kittens names mean the following:

Amiri- prince
Sanura- kitten
Lisha- mysterious
Posted By: Arliah on Thursday, May 06, 2010 1:42pm

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