Serval vs Savannah Cat: Key Differences (And Who Would Win in a Fight!)

Heaviest and Fattest Cats - Savannah
© Lindasj22/

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley

Published: June 5, 2022

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The serval and the savannah cat are fun to stare at until you have to make the difference. If any two cats look alike, it’s the serval and the savannah cat. In this article, however, we will show you how to differentiate one from the other, and reveal who is likely to win in a fight.

Comparing a Serval and a Savannah Cat

The serval cat is the wild version of the savannah cat.
Serval Savannah cat
Family FelidaeFelidae
Size23.6 in – 39.4in long
7.7 lbs – 41.9lbs
20 in -22 in long
12 lbs-25lbs
HabitatNative to Africa, found in the grasslands, woodlands, and marshlands.They are found in homes around the world.
AppearanceSmall head, long ears, streamlined body, and long legs.A small head with a streamlined body. Smaller than the serval cat. 
DietCarnivore: Rodents, birds, frogs, hares, flamingos, and young antelope. Carnivore: meat, cat food, kibble.

The Key Differences Between a Serval and a Savannah Cat

The most significant differences between serval and savannah cats are their appearance, size, behavior, attack, and defense mechanism. The savannah cat is a hybrid of the serval and the domestic cat and is thus a domesticated cat. They both belong to the Felidae family, which houses other small cats, including the cheetah, the caracal, and the golden cat.

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Size

Maddest Angriest Cats - Serval

Growing up to 39 inches long and weighing up to 42 pounds, the serval is bigger than the savannah cat.

©Howard Klaaste/

The serval has a length of around 23.6 to 39.4 inches, a height of 17 to 24 inches, and weighs 7.7 lbs to 41.9 lbs, while the savannah cat has a length of 20 inches to 22 in, a height of 14inches to 17 in, and a weight of 12lbs to 25lbs; this makes the serval bigger than the savannah cat in all ramifications. 

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Morphology

The serval and savannah cats have the same coat color, which explains why they are mistaken for each other. They both have small heads, streamlined bodies, and long legs. The other little difference you might find is in the size of their ears. While the ears of both cats are big, the ears of the serval are way bigger than those of the savannah cat. 

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Habitat

Longest Cats - Savannah Cat

The Savannah cat is the largest domestic cat hybrid in the world.


The habitats of the two cats are different, seeing one is wild while the other is domesticated. The serval is native to Africa and can be found in a range of grasslands, woodlands, and marshlands, while the savannah cat is a domesticated cat that lives in homes around the world. 

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Social Behavior

Serval cats are solitary animals.

©Self, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

The serval is a solitary animal rarely seen in groups, although they can be seen resting in small groups during the day. Each serval has its territory that is marked out with scents and scratches. The male and females have different territories and only come together to mate. After mating, each returns to its territory and maintains the solitary lifestyle. The only likelyhood of a group of servals together is the nursing female with her cubs, who would eventually grow up and leave to establish their territory. On the other hand, the savannah cat is known to be friendly and behave just like a dog.

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Diet 

While both cat breeds are carnivores, there is a difference in their diets. The serval lives in the wild, which influences its diet. It hunts prey like rodents, birds, frogs, hares, flamingos, and young antelope. On the other hand, the savannah cat, although domesticated, is a carnivore that eats meat, cat food, and kibble. Although they love to hunt, it’s not a primary means to get their food.

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Attack Methodology and Defense Mechanism

The two animals have different attack and defense mechanisms. The serval is an animal in the wild and would need to attack prey and defend itself from predators or bigger animals. It uses its huge ears, which are very sensitive to sound, to pick up the movements of potential prey while waiting to spring a surprise attack on the prey and administer a killer bite. It can also leap into the air to catch and kill birds.

Serval cats growl to show disapproval for their defense and scare off any intruders. At other times they bend their backs to look intimidating. On the other hand, the savannah cat exhibits similar traits to the serval but has no serious need to hunt or defend itself, so these traits are only shown during play with human owners or with toys.

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Danger To Humans 

Although serval cats are not known to be dangerous to humans, they should not be taken lightly. They have the wild cat trait written all over them and would not fail to exhibit it at any time. Their natural habitat is in the wild, and they may not fare well in a space with humans. While some people are bold and adventurous enough to keep servals as pets, it’s still not thought to be the ideal pet. On the other hand, the savannah cat does not pose any threat and is bred to live with people. It is a purely domesticated animal that poses no danger to humans. 

Serval vs. Savannah Cat: Who Would Win in a Fight? 

The serval would beat the savannah cat any day due to the domestication of the savannah cat and the wild nature of the serval. The savannah cat is just a mild version of what the serval is and cannot withstand the wildness and power of the serval, which is a bigger and more efficient killer.

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