If you found yourself in the township of Reading, Pennsylvania this month, with temperatures in the 30°- 40° F range, you might not easily mistake your surroundings for the African Savannah. Which would make it all the more confusing if you saw a large cheetah-like animal running towards you.
There were a few double-takes from the locals, and after the Reading police department received several matching reports about the "spotted" creature, they decided to send out some officers. When they finally tracked down the furtive feline, they knew immediately that they were not equipped to deal with the dog-sized predator.
What the experts found had them all scratching their heads
The Animal Rescue League of Berks County arrived on the scene and discovered a very friendly cat with extremely long legs, standing nearly two feet tall, the spots of a cheetah, and looking very cold.
When the team pinpointed the animal, they were shocked that this species was in Pennsylvania, over 7,400 miles from it's habitat. And the reason why is making a lot of people mad.
The animal rescue unit identified the big kitty as an African serval, a wild cat that typically lives in the jungles and wetlands of southern African. In order to own one in the state of Pennsylvania you need a special licence to ensure it is well looked after. No one in PA owns such a licence.
Servals usually fetch $20,000-$30,000 on the black market, and while some trophy owners value them for their exotic nature, many individuals typically acquire the cats to breed with domesticated felines to create what is called a Savannah cat.
These are legal to own and do not require a special licence, despite their similar nature to the serval.
The captured kitty has now been transported to a big cat rescue facility in order to provide it with the right diet, exercise, and companionship it requires to live a long, happy life!