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African serval on the loose in Mississippi

An African serval named Arya has been on the loose in Mississippi for more than a month after escaping from a private owner.

Shanna Smith posted on social media that her pet serval, a species of wildcat native to Africa, had escaped from her Richland, MS, home on September 16 after somehow opening a door and letting herself outside.

“I believe she is alive and well, just probably in the woods with her wild instinct switch flipped on,” Smith said in her post.

A missing poster for Arya mistakenly identifies her as a savannah cat, a hybrid species created by crossing a serval with a domestic cat.

Smith confirmed to the Clarion Ledger that more than a month after her escape, Arya is still missing.

“She has a home that misses her desperately,” Smith said.

Servals are legal to keep as a pet in Mississippi without a special permit.


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