A male serval at the Capron Park Zoo, Attleboro Mass.
It has been said that the African caracal is the old-world analogue of the lynx, while the serval is the dark continent's answer to the bobcat.
Given the notoriously short temper of the serval, the comparison does have some merit.
Found in densely-vegetated grasslands in sub-saharan Africa (as well as a relic population in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) the serval specializes in small-ish prey, although it is strong and fast enough to catch small antelope like the thompson's gazelle.
Although the animals frame and coloration make it look similar to the cheetah, scientists believe the serval's lineage predates the cheetah and that the cheetah itself evolved from the animal.
The obvious physical difference is the animal's dish-like ears.
Unlike most cats, the serval relies most heavily on it's hearing to find it's prey.
The cheetah is often celebrated as the apex animal athlete for it's ability to reach speeds of up to 72 miles per hour.
But the serval is in fact one of the fastest land animals on earth.
An adult can not only jump 20 feet horizontally and 9 feet vertically, but can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour, outstripping nearly ever other feline on earth.
So you see, servals are interesting. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.