Caracal is a wild species of felines. Although it is very similar to lynx with its outer appearance, it is also known as Step lynx and Egyptian lynx.
Stop everything you are doing because we just discovered the cutest cat species in the world! Meet caracals, or to be specific, baby caracals! The beautiful creatures have been religiously important to the ancient Egyptians. These cats appear in ancient Egyptians' paintings, bronze figurines, while their sculptures were thought to guard the pharaohs' tombs.
Caracals live in Africa, the Middle East, and The Indian subcontinent. Adults weigh up to 18kgs (40lbs) and can run at speeds of up to 50mph. Caracals can be easily domesticated and even kept as pets. Nevertheless, it might be illegal in some countries, so double-check before you decide to get one of these cuties!
Just like an ordinary house cat, but with a slight difference, right?
It was first discovered in 1776 by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in South Africa and named by Felis caracal. It is not known why von Schreber chose such a Turkish-inspired name. Afterwards, an analysis by John Edward Gray in 1843 found that caracules were a separate breed and could not belong to the Felis breed, which contained domestic cats and close relatives. Thus, Caracal became a genus name. Although the alias is "lynx of the desert", this name is an analogy.
Today, only one species of the genus Caracal caracal lives and this species is not threatened at all. This interesting structure of the ears is thought to be related to both hearing function and le.
Size and Appearance: Often referred to as the desert lynx, the Caracal does not actually possess the same physical attributes of members of the lynx family, such as the characteristic ruff of hair around the face. Instead, it has a short, dense coat, usually a uniform tawny-brown to brick-red, and black (melanistic) individuals have been recorded.
As the name implies, the backs of the ears are black and topped with long black tufts about 1.75 inches long. This tuft is the characteristic that Caracals do share with the members of the lynx family. It is the largest member of Africa's small cats, and it's most formidable. Males can weigh as much as 40 pounds, and females as much as 35. They stand between 16-20 inches at the shoulder, and are 35-39 inches long.
Habitat: Caracals live in the drier savannah and woodland regions of sub-Saharan Africa, and prefer the more scrubby, arid habitats. They will also inhabit evergreen and montane forests, but are not found in tropical rain forests.
Distribution: Central Africa, South Africa, west Africa, southwest Asia, Middle East. Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of approximately 78-81 days, females produce a litter of 1-4 kittens, with 2 being the average. They begin to open their eyes on their first day of life, but it takes 6-10 days for them to completely open. They are weaned at 10 weeks, and will remain with their mothers for up to a year.
They attain sexual maturity between 12-16 months. In captivity, Caracals have lived up to 19 years.
Social System and Communication: Caracals are solitary animals, and social interactions are limited to periods of mating, except for mothers with kittens. Hear our purrs, hisses, snarls, calls, and growl sounds HERE
Hunting and Diet: Caracals prey on a variety of mammals, with the most common being rodents, hares, hyraxes, and small antelope. Unlike the other small African cats, Caracals will not hesitate to kill prey larger then themselves, such as adult springbok or young Kudu.
Caracals have also been reported on occasion (although this is an exception rather than a rule) to store their kills in trees, as do the leopards. These cats are mostly nocturnal, but have been spotted in daylight in protected areas.
Principal Threats: Caracals are mostly killed for livestock predation, although this only occurs in a few of its ranges it still adds up to large numbers of deaths (2219 animals in one area alone). In other areas of its range, it fights hunting for its skin and for its meat, which some bush tribes consider to be a luxury.
Felid TAG 2003 recommendation: Caracals (Caracal caracal). Caracals are managed with the assistance of an international studbook. Most recent importations are from Namibia. Ultimately, a pure subspecies can be maintained in North America. Although the TAG originally targeted the Asian race from Turkmenistan for the RCP, it became apparent that only highly inbred hybrids were present in North America.
More likely, no aspect of this race is in this region, or likely to become available. The population target for the PMP is 80 individuals.
How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 169 in zoos worldwide, with 52 being in the U.S.