Serval and Cheetah Cross Paths, Slow-motion Standoff Ensues

Photo by Bernard Dupont

A serval and a cheetah crossed paths, and a slow-motion showdown — not unlike what you might see in two housecats — ensued.

Gavin Newfield and Mika Solomon were on safari at Pilanesberg Game Reserve in South Africa when they happened upon the rare sighting. The serval was strolling along the road when he caught sight of the cheetah, who was accompanied by 3 others.

Initially, the two seemed unsure of how they should react to one another. The serval arched its back and froze — quite reminiscent of a frightened domestic cat — as the cheetah moved cautiously toward it.

They spent minutes in a kind of slow-motion face off, sizing each other up as if trying to decide whether or not a battle was worthwhile.

As the cheetah gets too close for comfort, the serval holds its own, displaying its teeth, yowling, and raising the hair on its back.

At this point, the cheetah decides that an attack isn’t worth its precious energy and saunters away in arrogant cat-like fashion. A wise decision.

Latest Sightings reported that in the end, the serval made a run for it and the cheetahs pursued a wildebeest that was grazing nearby.

Servals are solitary animals that walk up to 2.5 miles each day in search of food. These cats are vulnerable to predation by hyenas and wild dogs, and will generally try to hide from them until they get too close, at which point they’ll generally high-tail it out of there — similar to what this solo serval did here. The cats tend to avoid confrontation when possible rather than fight. Can’t blame ’em, can you?

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