Whistler the African Serval

If you’ve gone on one of our public tram tours, then you probably remember our large serval habitat! This is […]

If you’ve gone on one of our public tram tours, then you probably remember our large serval habitat! This is currently home to five of our African servals, along with our savannah cat. Today, we’re going to be talking about Whistler, one of those servals! 

Whistler’s Story

Whistler was privately-owned along with two other servals in the state of Colorado, which is one of the states that has laws banning the ownership of exotic wildlife. When his previous owners decided they were no longer able to take care of these servals, they released them into the wilderness in the middle of winter. Unfortunately, the other two servals were never found, but Whistler stumbled upon a neighbor who was able to feed him for a while. He was then picked up by Colorado Game and Fish Commission, and spent time in their rehabilitation facility receiving treatment. He had frostbite on the tips of his ears, which caused him to lose the tips of them. After healing up, he was transported to Turpentine Creek, where he was introduced to our resident serval community!


Life at TCWR

Whistler lives with 4 other servals: Sammy, Enzo, Lexi, and Giselle; and Tigger, the savannah cat. He is by far the most recognizable in this habitat, as he has a docked tail (previous to arriving at TCWR), along with flattened ears. He also has an incredibly round, “grumpy old man” face!

At nearly 15, he is by far the oldest in his habitat, with his roommates all being under 10-years old. While this does mean he enjoys his alone time, he still has a rambunctious side! Whistler is known as the “food thief” of the habitat, and staff members have to monitor the servals as they eat in order to ensure Whistler is only eating his portion! Outside of stealing food, Whistler generally likes to “people watch” the other servals in the habitat. He may also be seen watching the tram as it drives by!

Unfortunately, many people believe that servals can be good house pets because of their small size. However, they retain many wild instincts, like the ability to jump 12-feet in the air! They can also bite 3–4 times harder than a housecat can. Once owners realize that they cannot take care of a serval, what generally happens is that the cat will either be euthanized, or released, like Whistler. However, Whistler is lucky that he ended up at a true sanctuary like Turpentine Creek, where he now has a forever home! If you want to help support Whistler’s daily care, you can symbolically adopt him at Whistler Serval Adoption – Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

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