Los Angeles Animal Services is issuing a warning to residents that a serval has been spotted in the West Los Angeles, Laurel Canyon Area around the 2000 Block of Davies Way.
A serval is a large cat that resembles a Bobcat. Adults grow to approximately 3 feet in length; about 20 inches tall and can fill out to about 40 lbs. Servals are spotted, have long legs, long pointed ears, a lean body and a long tail. They have a small head in comparison to the rest of their body. They are predatory, nocturnal animals.
Servals are indigenous to Africa and considered exotic in California. A wild animal permit is required to own a serval in California. According to Fish & Game, no wild animal permits have been issued for servals in the Los Angeles area.
Residents who spotted the serval on Sunday night were able to photograph the animal. Photographs show it to be in good condition and wearing a black collar and a gold tag - indications that the serval is mostly likely a pet that may have inadvertently escaped.
While the serval did not appear aggressive towards humans who were within several feet of it, it is still a wildcat and could pose a danger to small children and small pets. Residents are asked to remain cautious. Keep small children and small pets indoors. Do not leave small children unattended outdoors. When confronted with the animal, move away slowly and make yourself appear as large as possible. Anyone who sees the animal should contact the local shelter or L.A. Animal Services immediately. L.A. Animal Services also requests that residents do not harm the animal unless they are protecting themselves.
Wildlife Officers have set out traps for the animal in the hopes of capturing it and releasing it to a wildlife preserve.
Residents can reach L.A. Animal Services at 1-888-4LA-PET1/ 1-888-452-7381 (TTY Hearing Impaired: 877-875-8205).