Savannah cat

Alert

Have you seen Savannah cat?

Be on the lookout for Savannah cat and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Savannah cat.

Call us on 13 25 23.

A hybrid of a domestic cat and an African serval (a medium-sized wild cat), the savannah cat is much larger than a domestic cat and retains some of the serval’s features.

Savannah cats are kept as pets and bred for showing in parts of the USA, but cannot be imported into Australia or kept in Queensland. If wild populations established in Queensland, savannah cats could have serious environmental impacts, including increased predation on small and medium-sized native species.

The savannah cat is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Hybrids of Leptailurus serval, Felis catus

Similar species

Description

  • Hybrid of domestic cat and African serval.
  • Savannah cats show significant genotypic variations depending on generation and individual pedigree. For example, F1 males weigh 8-11kg and stand 40-45cm at the shoulder. F4 and F5 males can weigh 6.3-8.2kg and stand 32-38cm at the shoulder.
  • Neck is long, lean.
  • Legs are long, slender.
  • Face is triangular.
  • Ears are large.
  • Toes are elongated.
  • Fur colour varies, with combinations of black, brown-spotted tabby, silver-spotted tabby, black smoke.
  • Coat pattern resembles wild serval, with spots and other bold markings.

Habitat

  • Likely to prefer similar habitats to those of feral cats and African servals.
  • Feral cats are found throughout Queensland in most habitats and climatic extremes, so feral-serval crossbreeds are likely to have the same adaptability.
  • African servals prefer tropical savanna habitats, but will also inhabit arid areas and high-altitude, low-temperature environments.

Distribution

  • Currently absent from Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Life expectancy is unknown but predicted to be around 15 years, similar to domestic cats.
  • Sexual maturity age is unknown and varies from 7-24 months depending on pedigree.
  • Gestation is 63-73 days.
  • 1-5 kittens per litter.

Affected animals

  • Small mammals
  • birds
  • reptiles
  • amphibians
  • insects

Impacts

Environmental

  • Likely increased predation on small and medium-sized native species.
  • May breed with feral cats, providing genetic characteristics such as increased size and hunting efficiency.

Control

  • Call 13 25 23 if you find an animal you suspect may be a Savannah cat to seek advice on control options.

Legal requirements

  • Savannah cat is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be kept, moved, fed, given away or sold without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Savannah cat escaping until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information