Distribution and habitat
The serval is native to Africa, where it is widely distributed south of the Sahara. It was once also found in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, but may have been extirpated from Algeria and only remains in Tunisia because of a reintroduction programme.
Its main habitat is the savanna, although melanistic individuals are more usually found in mountainous areas at elevations up to 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). The serval needs watercourses within its territory, so it does not live in semi-deserts or dry steppes. Servals also avoid dense equatorial jungles, although they may be found along forest fringes. They are able to climb and swim, but seldom do so.