Caracal vs Serval: What Are The Differences?

A Caracal headshot

Caracal Vs Serval Cat, what are the differences between these two cats?? The Caracal and the Serval are both beautiful wild cats that live in Africa. They look very similar, but there are some crucial differences between these two species. In this post, we will go over those differences and how to tell them apart from one another.

Caracal Vs Serval: What Are They?

What Is A Caracal?

A Caracal cat is a large, wild cat that lives in Africa. It is also called the African Golden Cat, and it has long tufts of fur on its ears that look like large coloured rings around its face.

The Caracal cat has short whiskers, and they have spots or stripes to help them camouflage with their surroundings when hunting for prey at night. They are nocturnal, which means they hunt during the nighttime.

What Is A Serval Cat?

The Serval is a medium-sized wild cat that lives in Africa. It can have either spots or stripes on its coat, but it also often has dark brown rings around its face, similar to a Caracal cat.

The Serval is a very small cat, and it has incredibly long legs. It also has large ears that help them hear prey from far away to catch their next meal quickly. In addition, they have whiskers on either side of their muzzle, but not the tufts of fur like caracals do around their jawline or face.

What Are The Physical Differences Between Caracal vs Serval Cat?

A Caracal headshot in front of a grass background

Caracals are around twice the size of servals in weight at their heaviest point. They may look similar with tufts of fur on their faces or heads, but several key differences make them much easier to tell apart from one another.

Caracal Physical Appearance:

The easiest way to tell a caracal cat from a serval is by looking at their tails. Caracals have very long, fluffy black-tipped tails with large tufts of fur on the end that look like coloured rings around their face.

The body of the Caracal is very similar to that of the Serval. It has long legs, tufted ears and spots or stripes on its coat.

Serval Physical Appearance:

Servals are smaller than caracals, and they have a more slender build with long legs.

Servals have short, bushy tails without any hair on them except near the tip, where small hairs or whiskers sprout outwards in all directions. If you see big ring-like tail tufts sticking up above its tail but not attached to it anywhere, then you’re probably looking at a caracal!

Caracal Vs Serval: What Are The Size Differences?

The size of the Serval and the Caracal is not very different, but it can be hard to tell. The Serval can be anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds, while the Caracal is usually around 45 pounds.

Female servals can be as big as 80cm tall (32 inches) or around 52 cm tall if they’re males!

Caracal cats can be up to 64 cm tall (about 25 inches).

Caracal Vs Serval: Habitat Differences:

The Caracal and the Serval both live in the continent of Africa. However, their habitats are different from each other. Caracals live in the savannas and grasslands of Africa, as well as semi-deserts. They do not, however, habitat in tropical rainforests.

Servals are much more adaptable than caracals, so their habitats vary widely depending on where they live! They have been known to survive even in large cities if they can find enough food and water sources in their area.

Servals can be found in as many as 18 different African countries. They are less picky when it comes to their habitat, and they live in grasslands often but also inhabit rainforests, live near rivers, and swamps because they are excellent at climbing trees and enjoy playing in the water!

The Serval likes to live in wet or dry savannas with tall grasses where it can easily hide from predators while hunting.

Caracal Vs Serval: Diet Differences


Caracals eat various types of food depending on what is available in their habitat at the time. It loves small mammals such as rodents, rabbits or hares but will also feed on birds when it has the chance! Caracals have also been known to feed on lizards, snakes and other small reptiles, and larger mammals like antelope and deer.

Servals, like the Caracal, eat a variety of different types of food too! They love to hunt small rodents such as gerbils or mice but also prey on birds, frogs, and other reptiles just like their relatives do. Servals have been known to feed on larger animals when they get the chance, including antelope, warthogs and even small crocodiles!

Caracal Vs Serval: Life Span Differences

The average lifespan of a caracal is between 12 and 15 years in captivity while only living up to 11 or 13 years in the wild!

The Serval lives between 12 and 15 years in captivity but has been known to live up to 17 or 18 years. This is because they are very smart creatures with the ability to adapt quickly. They have survived for more than 20 years, successfully living on their own after being abandoned by their owners when they were young.

Caracal Vs Serval: Social Differences

The servals are very social creatures, and they love to spend time with their friends. Therefore, Servals will play together but never fight or hurt each other because of this friendship!

Caracals, on the other hand, prefer to be alone most of the time. As a result, they do not interact with other caracals as often and fight with others who live near them if they feel threatened or endangered.

As both the Caracal and the Serval are wild cats, they do not get along well with humans. They are timid around strangers because of this!

The Serval is used to living independently without any help from people throughout most of their lives. The caracals, however, have been known to become less afraid of new people when they live in zoos or animal rescue centres.

Caracal Vs Serval: Hunting Differences:

A Caracal Cat laying down in sand

Both the Caracal and Serval are excellent hunters, but they have different hunting techniques that are unique to them.

The Caracal uses its strong legs and flexible spine to jump up into the air about 20 feet! They then grab their prey with their sharp claws, kill it by biting down on its neck or breaking the skull in one swift leap if possible. If this is not an option, they will try to shake it violently until its neck is broken instead.

The caracal hunts from a distance of up to 20 meters away from its prey using its excellent eyesight and hearing ability. They can jump as high as one meter off the ground to catch birds or small rodents that they have been stalking!

Servals hunt differently, and like the Caracal, are also excellent jumpers. They can leap up into trees or other high places to grab their prey with their claws too! Instead of killing them right away, though, they often play with the prey until it tires out. They will then grab the prey again, breaking its neck with their teeth and claws before eating!

They also use their excellent eyesight and hearing abilities to stalk their prey from close distances, sometimes as little as one meter away!

The Serval can jump up much higher than the Caracal; however, when it tries so, they can both catch tiny rodents such as mice or small birds.

Caracal Vs Serval: Communication Differences

Both the caracals and servals use various kinds of sounds to communicate with other members nearby, whether they are family or friends! For example, the caracals make screeching noises when meeting each other for the first time, followed by purring, a sign of affection.

On the other hand, the servals will make loud, high-pitched noises when they meet each other for the first time, which can be heard from very far away! They also use purrs and chirps to communicate with friends or family members nearby in their habitat.

On the other hand, the Serval hunts by jumping over tall grasses and even bushes sometimes so it can sneak up on its prey. It can also use its excellent hearing and sight but prefers not to jump as high into the air to hunt because it does not want anything to spook their potential meal!

Caracal Vs Serval Life Span Differences:

Caracals, on average live, to be 13 years old, but some have been known to live as long as 20 years! Caracals have one of the lowest mortality rates out of all cats because there isn’t much human influence surrounding them, so they don’t get exposed to many common diseases that plague house pets like dogs and cats.

Servals, on the other hand, live to be between 12 and 16 years of age! They are more likely than caracals to get sick because there is human influence around them. As a result, they usually die from diseases that humans bring into their habitats, like colds or pneumonia.

In captivity, however, both cats have lived up to around 19 years old!

Caracal Vs Serval Breeding Differences:

A Serval Cat panting outside

Caracal kittens are usually born in two or three litters and can grow up to be as big as a domestic cat! However, their ears tend not to stand up until they’re about six weeks old.

Servals give birth to one baby at a time after a gestation period that lasts around 70 days. Like the caracals, they are born blind and deaf as well! They rely on their mother to teach them how to hunt for themselves.

Can You Own A Caracal or Serval Cat?

Can you have a Caracal pet cat? Having either a caracal or Serval in captivity is extremely difficult because they are both listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. This means that their populations are not doing well enough to be considered stable, and it would take exceptional circumstances to have one of them living in your home!

It is illegal to own either of these animals in most circumstances because they are not domesticated and can never become fully tame, even after years in captivity!

Is A Serval Stronger Than A Caracal?

The Serval is a strong and powerful animal with the ability to take down large prey. The Caracal, on the other hand, is smaller and more agile.

Serval Vs Caracal Who Would Win?

So, who would win in a fight between these two big cats? In a physical confrontation, the Serval would likely come out on top. However, the Caracal’s superior hunting skills give it an edge in a more extended conflict. With its sharp claws and powerful jaws, the Serval is a formidable opponent.

However, the Caracal’s speed and agility allow it to avoid direct confrontations. Instead, it uses stealth to ambush its prey.

In a fight between these two animals, the outcome would depend on the terrain and the individual strengths of each cat

Serval And Caracal Hybrids – Is It Possible?

Can a serval mate with a caracal? The answer to this question is not simple. Servals and caracals are different species of cats, so they can interbreed and produce offspring. However, the offspring are usually sterile, so they cannot reproduce. In other words, serval and caracal hybrids are possible, but they are not common.

There have been a few reported cases of serval and caracal hybrids in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, but it is complicated to know if these reports are accurate.

Conclusion: Caracal Vs Serval :

Although both of these cats look very similar in the wild, they are two completely different species that live in separate parts of Africa. However, they have similarities, like their hunting methods and specially adapted ears to help them survive there!

Caracals tend to be much smaller than servals but can jump higher into the air when trying for prey, while servals will stalk their prey at close distances instead because it is less likely to scare off their food source.

Serval kittens grow up faster than caracal kittens since they need to start learning how to hunt on their own as soon as possible, so they don’t rely on humans too often! On the other hand, Caracal young ones take a little growing up before becoming independent from their mothers.

However, both of these cats have been known to live in captivity up until 19 years old! Caracals tend to be a little longer lived while servals only live about 12-16 years on average, even when they are domesticated and living their lives with humans throughout the world.



Rochelle is a self-claimed crazy cat lady and proud cat mum to Owlie! She has owned, rescued, and fostered cats throughout her whole life. Rochelle created Cats On My Mind as a hub for likeminded cat parents to get all the information they will ever need to give their fur babies their best life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts