Follow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFollow us on FlickrFollow us on YouTubeFollow us on PinterestFollow us on Instagram

The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Support Today's Scientists, Inspire Tomorrow's Scientists

When you give to the Museum, you support our scientists' research on the planet's biodiversity. You are also creating tomorrow's scientists. Our teacher resources make each field trip a learning experience, our education outreach brings the science of discovery to schools all over L.A.
Donate to NHMLA Today!

Mammalogy Contacts

Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals

Jim Dines, Ph.D.
Collections Manager
(213) 763-3400

David Janiger
Curatorial Assistant
(213) 763-3369



Felis (Leptailurus) serval (Schreber, 1776)

Serval diorama in the African Mammal Hall


 Samburu National Reserve, Kenya


 William J. Cheney

Background artist:

 Duncan Alanson Spencer

The serval is a specialized hunter and has very acute hearing  to help pinpoint its small prey.  Its long legs also let the serval see over the tall savannah grasses to detect signs of movement of potential prey.

Servals have been extensively hunted for their fur. They are still common in West and East Africa but are now extinct in southernmost Africa and very rare north of the Sahara.

Male servals have been bred to domestic cats to produce the Savanna Cat breed. Servals have also been bred with caracals (their nearest relatives) to produce servicals and caravels.

Biological Information

Range map for the serval


Sub-Saharan Africa except Congo Basin and southern tip of Africa.


Open savannas to high mountain meadows.


Declining in areas of dense settlement.


Carnivorous: small antelopes, hares, lizards, rodents, birds.

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for serval.