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Servals in NY and Ohio ~ and California?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 4th, 2010

Photo: NY Department of Environmental Conservation

The wild cat species serval (Leptailurus serval) live in Africa. Thus it was a surprise recently when it was reported that a serval weighing 30 pounds was found on the New York Thruway. It was first identified as a 150-pound leopard. The felid was found August 23, 2010, on the eastbound lane of the Thruway at milepost 303 in the vicinity of Interchange 40, Auburn/Weedsport, New York.

Serval killed in Pennsylvania.

Serval killed in Kansas.

Perhaps what was more surprising is that Glenn Donnelly, who keeps 48 different exotic cats at a licensed private wildlife preserve near Weedsport, New York, stepped forward to tell authorities that the cat might have escaped from his place. He wasn’t sure.

David Figura of The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, must be credited with the understatement of the year: “It wasn’t your typical roadkill.”

DEC spokesman Yancey Roy said the animal is currently being examined at the DEC office in Syracuse and that it does have some kind of “tag.”

It is legal to possess a serval as a pet if one has a U.S. Department of Agriculture “exhibitor’s” permit, which Donnelly “apparently has,” Roy said.

Meanwhile, in Ohio, near the mall in German Township, near Dayton, authorities were looking for a missing serval from a German Twp. home since July. It was not considered a serious danger to the public, police said on Monday, August 30, 2010. It was last seen north of the Upper Valley Mall two weeks ago, officials said. (New York is too far from Ohio for this to be the same cat.)

Elsewhere, in California (not Montana, sorry), on August 23, 2010, this was letter published in the area’s local paper:

In the past month my housecat has been severely sliced up twice. I wondered if a bobcat and he now had overlapping territories. Then yesterday afternoon I found this hybrid cat, (I believe it is a Savannah cat which is a hybrid between a Serval and a housecat) just outside my front door.

The cat has a blue collar with a bell attached. No normal cat could stand a chance against him. Triple check your chicken enclosures and do not leave windows open. I read in Coastsider someone in Montara is setting out an animal trap. This might very well be to catch this animal. He was seen on Date Street (cross is Edison) at 7:40 pm August 22, 2010.

I had previously heard of these cats because one has come inside neighbors homes and killed quite a few caged pets in El Granada. Apparently they are a legal pet. Margot Lowry

Will reports of black servals be next in store for North America?

Loren Coleman – has written 5491 posts on this site.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


2 Responses to “Servals in NY and Ohio ~ and California?”

  1. canecorso responds:

    There are alot of breeders of Serengeti cats out there. There are many in Ohio they are crosses between Servals and domestic cats, The hybrid males are supposed to be infertile so you must use a male Serval to produce your kittens. You can get wild cats at any number of auctions and private breeders for less than 1/2 of what the hybrids go for. There is no doubt that there are many escaped or released out of place wild cats in the US. Serengeti and Savanna cats are the latest big thing.

  2. archer1945 responds:

    There is a melanistic version of the serval which is quite common, unlike the other black cats that are reported.



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