a note on breeding the Serval cat Felis serval at Basle Zoo

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  • a note on breeding the Serval cat Felis serval

    at Basle Zoo H A N S W A C K E R N A G E L ScientiJc Assistant, Zoologischer Garten, Basle, Switzerland

    Basle Zoo has kept Serval cats Felis serval since 1947. Oestrus has been observed in the majority of cases (three females) to last for only one

    day. It may, however, last for three or four days. In one case copulations were observed over a period of 10 days. The monthly distribution of oestrus is shown in Table I .

    MONTH I I 1 I 1 1 I V v V I V I I V I I I IX x X I X I 1

    No. of oestrous 1 6 periodsobserved 3 4 3 I I I - 2 4 -

    Table I. Monthly distribution of oestrus in Serval cats Felis serval at Bade Zoo.

    The gestation period has been determined in 14 cases (three females). It was calculated from the last observed day of oestrus. The average gestation period was 74 days; the shortest and longest gestation periods were 67 and 77 days.

    Females may give birth twice a year. The shortest interval between a birth, followed by normal lactation, and the next birth was 184 days. Up till the time of writing (July 1967), 47 young have been born in 20 litters from three females. Of these, 24 of the young were males, 22 were females, and in one case the sex was not determined. The number of young per litter was on an average 2-35. Six litters consisted of one young, four litters of two young, seven litters of three young, and three litters of four young. The number of litters per month is shown in Table 2.

    MONTH I I 1 1 1 1 I V v V I V I I V I I I IX x XI X I 1

    No. of litters ' 2 4 3 3 - - I - 2 2 2

    Table 2. Number of litters per month in Felis serval at Basle Zoo.


    The birth weight was recorded in four males as 230, 230, 250, 260 g and, in one individual of undetermined sex, as 260 g.

    In one litter the kittens eyes opened at nine days; and the second dentition was acquired at rgz days.

    The original female, which arrived at the zoo at the age of about four months, lived at the Basle Zoo for 19 years, 4 months and 19 days. She raised her last litter at the age of 14 years.

    a note on breeding Temmincks golden cat Felis teiiiiniizckii

    at Wassenaar Zoo J. W. W. L O U W M A N & W. G. VAN OYEN Assistmt Director and Geiaeral Curator, Dierenpark Wassenaar, Netkerlunds

    In January 1966 Wassenaar Zoo acquired an adult pair of Temmincks golden cats Felis temrniiickii from Thniland. As they are very shy they are kept in a secluded part of the felid house, away from any disturbance by the public. They are fed beef enriched with yeast and vitamins, and as many freshly killed birds, such as pigeons and chickens, as possible.

    Mating has not been observed. On 7 March 1967, however, a male kitten was born. It weighed 250 g and had exactly the same coat pattern as the parent animals. The mother was very nervous and it was therefore decided to remove the kitten and to rear it on a domestic cat foster mother, together with her own two kittens. (As the domestic cat did not belonz to us we were not able to remove her kittens and we also thought they would make good playmates for the young golden cat.) Fortunately, the young golden cat was accepted without difficulty by the domestic cat.

    As we feared the domestic cats milk supply might be insufficient, we supplemented the young golden cats diet with a commercial milk food (Esbilac, Borden Dairy Co), which was fed in small amounts via a dolls feeding bottle. To this a liquid multi-vitamin compound was added.


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