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Pet serval cat on loose after escape from central Japan home

A pet serval cat, which escaped on June 27, is seen in this photo provided by the Shizuoka Municipal Government.

SHIZUOKA -- A serval cat kept as a pet at a house in this central Japan city has escaped, the Shizuoka Municipal Government announced on June 29.

Servals have long legs and large ears, and grow larger than house cats. The animal's owner has reportedly explained that the pet serval is used to people and there is a low chance of it attacking anyone. The city laid out traps around the owner's home, and is making other efforts to capture the animal.

According to the municipal government, the 1-year-old male serval weighs 10 kilograms and is about 70 centimeters long. Its fur is light brown with black spots like a leopard's.

On the morning of June 27, the owner noticed that the animal looked unusually agitated, but when they tried to check inside the cage, the serval slipped through the space between the double door. The owner reported the animal's escape to the municipal government on June 29.

Serval cats are designated as an animal requiring permission from an administrative body to keep as a pet due to the potential danger they pose to humans. A city official in charge of the case commented, "If you come across the animal, please do not try to chase after it. Instead let us know where you found it." Anyone who spots the serval is asked to contact the city's animal instruction center at 054-278-6409 (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Wakako Otani, Shizuoka Bureau)

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