Meet Sheldon, Point Defiance Zoo's baby Serval. In addition to little Sheldon, there are a few other young cats at the zoo right now - Kali the Tiger cub and Tien the baby Clouded Leopard. Keepers get them together for playtime both behind the scenes and now at certain times within public view so guests can enjoy their antics. Sheldon can always be identified by his big ears. That size, along with the ability to rotate them independently, allows them to pinpoint small animals close by when hunting.
The Serval (Leptailurus serval), a medium-sized cat found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, lives mainly in thickly covered areas close to water. This species is unusual in that it loves to play in the water. They practice leaping in it as well, a hunting method they use to catch birds in flight, as well as pouncing on hares and mole rats, which round out their carnivorous diet.
Although the Serval is not considered to be at great risk in the wild, they are being subjected to increasing loss of their wetland habitats, which has led to population declines in certain areas. They are also extensively hunted for their fur.
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