Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Caracal

CaracalCaracal is an interesting medium sized wild cat. Found in western Asia and Africa, it is an intelligent and enduring predator. It is one of the heaviest of the small cats and is a great athlete and runner. It's unique tree climbing and jumping abilities set it apart from other wild felines. Named scientifically as Caracal Caracal it is also often called African or Persian Lynx owing to similarities in appearance with the lynx, though genetic research now suggests that it is more closely related to the Serval.

The coat is generally sand colored though melanism has been recorded. Young ones have reddish spots though they disappear with age. Weight ranges around 30 to 40 lbs, with males being heavier, whilst length is nearly two feet not inclusive of the one foot tail. The distinguishing feature is its long ears, marked by blackish tufts of hair that enable it to accurately locate the source of a sound.

Caracal's agile body and cunning makes it a successful hunter. It is able to survive long periods without water since it quenches its water requirements from the fluids of its prey. This attribute enables Caracal to survive for long periods in dry, desert areas without water sources. Its camouflage enables it to take down a wide spectrum of prey animals including hares, rodents, birds, hydraxes, deer, gazelles and kudus. Caracal is also considered one of the best bird hunters amongst mammals. Its great jumping ability means that it can catch nearly a dozen birds in one leap! For a long time in Asia, Caracal was tamed and used as a hunting cat. A nocturnal hunter, it has been known to hunt during daytime in colder seasons and at times take its prey up trees like leopards.

Despite existing in healthy numbers, Caracals are rarely seen in the wild. They live alone or in pairs. Pregnancy, as in the case of most cats, lasts nearly three months after which an average of two or three kittens are born. They are weaned off at nearly three months and stay with the mother until one year of age.

While they are not threatened in the wild, Caracals have at time come under backlash by farm owners for hunting down their livestock. Lifespan is nearly eleven years in the wild and eighteen years in captivity. I think there is a caracal at my local zoo, but it so shy that I've only had a glimpse of it once!

17 comments:

Kaze, Latte, or Chase said...

I really like the ear tufts! I wish I had ear tufts.

Kaze

Daisy said...

The caracal is very beautiful. And I'll bet he could hunt down a lizard with no problem, too!

stanley said...

Ear tufts! How wish I have one hehe..

Marilyn MonREOW said...

Wow, the caracal is a gorgeous cat! As always, thank you for your fascinating and educational posts. I like learning about my big cousins!

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn.

Chairman Mao said...

Wowie, the caracal's got superduper ear tufties! Way kool.

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao!

Name: Mr. Hendrix said...

That caracal is awesome! Check out how he is up in that tree. Amazing balance. How anyone can look at these big cats and decide they'd look better as coats I'll never understand.
Thanks for taking the time to research all these for us. We're learning a lot.

Miss Peach>(^,^) said...

Omer he looks like a mountain lion or puma....he has ear tuffts just like I do:)))
Come by for cake and see who all came to the paris Bash!
Did I tell you that I sent off your packet last week....I am old and I forget these things:)

Karen Jo said...

I find caracals fascinating. Have you seen the clip from the Nature program of a caracal leaping up in the air and catching an black African eagle? It's amazing. I am glad they are not threatened in the wild.

Anonymous said...

I love the caracal cat. I wish I could have one as a pet. I also like the smiladon but it is extince. I love cats and always will.

Tiger said...

Каракал не сможет поймать ящерицу, т.к.есть ящерицы пробегающие дистанцию 20м.за 1с. А впрочем кот хороший, и умелый охотник.

Anonymous said...

THEY R SOOOO CUTE!

Granville4879 said...

Just saw a pair of these on Shamwari (TV show) and wondered what they were. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

i like the caracal at our local zoo there are two...i see them all the ime they are very cute

Anonymous said...

KIDDY , who has passed would have liked to have a caracal for a friend and PERL she just loves watching anything that moves from her motorhome

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