Escapee Servals Killed in Kansas & Pennsylvania

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 1st, 2008

Yes, reports of mystery cat sightings and photos sometimes do turn out to be escaped exotic cats. When they’re shot, the “cryptid” becomes a known animal.

The cat above was killed in Kansas. It is a serval.

When Kansas City police responded to a call Thursday (November 20, 2008) about a possible bobcat prowling the Northland, officers soon realized they were dealing with something more exotic.

Try a serval — a wild African cat.

Though roughly the same size as Missouri bobcats, they have larger ears and longer tails. And, of course, they’re from another continent.

Using his rifle, an officer killed the serval Thursday morning in a field near Robin Hood Lane and Northwest Waukomis Drive.

Neighbors had called police that morning, reporting that something was prowling the area, Officer Darin Snapp said. Residents told police they were concerned about the safety of children playing outside.

State wildlife officials also had received calls in recent weeks about the creature and had been trying to trap it without success. Conservation department officials removed the cat’s body Thursday.

It’s not clear where the animal came from, or whether its owner — if located — would face criminal charges. Snapp said police didn’t know whether the serval was someone’s pet that had escaped or been released….By James Hart, The Kansas City Star, Friday, Nov. 21, 2008.

A week later revealed a similar scenario in Pennsylvania, another dead serval.

An exotic cat that had been roaming around Chester County’s exclusive Radnor Hunt country for the last month was shot and killed as it attacked a flock of chickens in their coop.

The cat, a native of Africa known as a serval, was killed by a farm manager on Tuesday evening (November 25, 2008) after he received permission from authorities at the Pennsylvania Game Commission, according to a release from the agency.

Willistown Township Supervisor Robert Lange said that the animal was a pet owned by the Gansky family of Providence Road in the township.

A woman who answered the phone at the Gansky home and who would not give her name said that Jarrett Gansky, 20, was the pet’s owner. She said that one day the cat, which had been declawed, slipped out the door and took off. She said that Jarrett Gansky had no comment.

George Heim, caretaker of Garrett Mill Farm near Malvern, said yesterday that a farm worker notified him around dinnertime Tuesday that an animal thought to be a bobcat had been locked inside the farm’s 25-bird chicken coop.

“It had lunged at him and hissed at him,” Heim told the Associated Press. “He got scared and didn’t know what to do.” The birds “were squawking bloody murder.”

Heim shot the serval with a .22-caliber rifle, but told the AP his heart sank when he realized the cat was wearing a collar.

Sightings of the animal, which resembles a small cheetah, were frequent, and they were the talk of the town.

“It was seen on our farm about two weeks ago,” said Lange, who owns Sugartown Strawberries, a popular farm for picking strawberries in the summer and pumpkins in the fall. “A hunter who was hunting deer on our farm saw it walk right under his tree stand.”

Two or three days ago, Lange said, it was spotted on Delchester Road. Earlier, he said, it had caused an accident when it scampered across busy Providence Road and a driver lost control of her car.
“It’s a shame that it got loose,” he said.

Yesterday, Game Commission officials retrieved the carcass and took it to their Southeast Region Office in Reading. The incident is under investigation….By Nancy Petersen, Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008.

Thanks Miss Fidget for the heads up.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

5 Responses to “Escapee Servals Killed in Kansas & Pennsylvania”

  1. Shelley responds:

    Servals can be used to produce Savannah cats, a cross between a domestic cat and a serval. One would think that someone doing this legally would report any escapees to the authorities.

    It’s interesting that almost no one ever comes forth to claim these alleged escapees, even in areas where there are licensed owners and breeders.

  2. GCPickle responds:

    What beautiful creatures. Too bad people who “own” these types of exotics are irrresponsible and the animals end up dead just because they were doing what comes natural to them.

  3. kittenz responds:

    People don’t report them missing because they are afraid of being held liable for damages that the animals may have caused. Even in areas where it’s legal to have them for pets, the owners are absolutely liable for injuries or property damages, and most people just don’t want to take the chance. So they tell a few friends and get some people together to search for the animal privately, or they just don’t tell anyone and leave the animal to fend for itself.

  4. Alligator responds:

    the owners are absolutely liable for injuries or property damages, and most people just don’t want to take the chance. So they tell a few friends and get some people together to search for the animal privately, or they just don’t tell anyone and leave the animal to fend for itself.

    That’s a spot on analysis Kittenz. Several years ago, someone’s “pet” black bear got away in our Missouri neighborhood. He didn’t tell anyone but when the bear started showing up in people’s gardens and trash cans, wildlife officials got suspicious. “That wasn’t my bear, that was a wild one” became his trademark statement in the local media. Funny, no one had seen a wild bear in our county since 1850 and literally overnight we had a booming population! He said he caught the bear and sent it to an animal shelter in Illinois. His proof – a Kodak instamatic photo of a bear in his living room! The court slapped him a hefty fine for improperly caging a dangerous animal. As for the bear, she was spotted for months afterwards and each time, seemed to be more wary of humans. I think she successfully reverted to the wild. The last sure sighting we had was on the nearby 4,500 acre wildlife refuge.

    I fear that with the current economic downturn – recession – depression or whatever you call it, more and more exotic (and regular) pets are going to get dumped by people who no longer want the expense of caring for them. They don’t know what to do them or are too lazy to do the right thing. I used to get tons of reptiles that way, but that trend seems to have died down. Now it is apparently wild or semi-wild cats like Servals that are in. Sorry, they were not designed to be house pets. A sad waste of beautiful animals. .

  5. mystery_man responds:

    Yeah, I agree with Kittenz. A lot of people are not going to want to deal with the legal ramifications of having these pets (if they are illegal to own), or being the owners of an escaped legal pet that caused damages.

    In cases where escaped exotics are proposed as an explanation for a mystery animal, a lot of people argue that surely there would be some record or someone to be held accountable. But that doesn’t take into consideration that many of these animals are either illegal, not licensed, or have owners that do not want to claim responsibility for their escaped animal. They are more likely to search for it covertly or leave it be and hope no one fingers them for the incident. I would say that even in areas where it is legal to have a certain exotic animal, there are likely some people who do not go through the effort to register them in any way.

    Often, unless the animal escaped from a zoo or if there is a clear registration record, there is only so much that can be done to determine the source of an escaped exotic.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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