Caracal cat lives in many places, such as India, the Middle East, and Africa. It is most related to the serval and the African golden cat. The black, tufted ears of a caracal make it look different from most wild cats. A caracal is a good hunter because it can move quickly and jump high.
Scientific Name of Caracal
Most people call this cat a caracal, but its scientific name is Caracal caracal. This cat is a member of the Felidae family and is in the class Mammalia. The word karakulak in Turkish is where the name “caracal” comes from. Karakulak means black ear.
How Does a Caracal Look Like
So, now you know what is a caracal? A caracal has a smooth coat of short, reddish-gold hair, and its eyes have a white line of fur around it. The tops of this cat’s ears are covered with long, black tufts of hair. No one knows why the ears of caracals have hairy tufts on them.
But some scientists think that the way caracals twitch their ears lets them talk to each other. Its tail is between 8 and 13 inches long. In other words, the average length of a caracal’s tail is about the same as a school ruler. When chasing a rabbit, bird, or other prey, a caracal cat can turn and stay on course with the help of its tail. The caracal’s tail is like a boat’s rudder.
A full-grown caracal can weigh between 20 and 40 pounds. For comparison, two bowling balls weigh as much as a 30-pound caracal. A caracal is between 24 and 42 inches long and stands 18 inches tall at the shoulder. That’s about the same height as a Border Collie.
Are Caracals and Servals Similar?
Caracals and servals are very similar. They are about the same size, but they live in different kinds of places. Servals like to hunt in wet, humid places, while caracals like to live in dry, desert places. The legs of a caracal cat are long and strong. When it hunts, it jumps into the air to catch a bird as it flies away. Its legs work like springs.
Caracals have sharp claws that help them climb up into the branches of trees. They also hunt and catch their food with their claws. Caracals mark their territory by clawing at trees and putting scent between their toes. Most of the time, caracals live alone. Lions, on the other hand, live in groups, namely pride. They are very mean cats who are quick to fight off other animals that come near their territory.
Understanding Cat Family
Feline refers to any of the 37 types of cats, such as the cheetah, puma, jaguar, leopard, lion, lynx, tiger, and housecat. Except for Australia and Antarctica, cats are native to almost every place on Earth. They are mammals that eat meat and can live in many different places, but most of the time, they live in forests.
Most cats have spots, stripes, or rosettes, but some, like the puma (Puma concolor), jaguarundi (Herpailurus yaguarondi), and lion (Panthera leo), are all the same colour. Several species have coats that are black or almost black. Even though lynx (genus Lynx) has short tails, most cats have long tails that are about a third of the length of the animal as a whole.
The head has a short nose, a round face, and short ears most of the time. The male African lion is the only cat with a strong mane. Except for the cheetah, cat feet have sharp claws that can be pulled back. Most felids have a bigger male than a bigger female.
Cats usually purr when they are happy and snarl, howl, or spit when they are fighting with another cat. The “big cats” (genus Panthera), especially the lion, often roar, growl, or shriek. Most of the time, though, cats are quiet.
Many cats have “claw trees” that they use to mark as they stand and drag their front feet down while their claws are out. It’s not clear if cats do this to clean, sharpen their claws, or stretch, but the behaviour is natural, and kittens raised alone soon start to claw things.
Where Does Caracal Live?
Most caracals live in parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. They live in dry places like savannas, woodlands, and even places where there are mountains. On a savanna, there isn’t a lot of water. Caracals, on the other hand, don’t need much water to live. Because there isn’t much water, these wild cats get the water they need from their prey. Caracals have also learned to deal with the hot weather in their area by sleeping during the day to save energy and hunting at night when it’s cooler.
They sleep in holes in the ground, cracks in rocks, thickets of plants, or even on a branch in a tree. These cats can walk easily on the sandy ground of a savanna because they have stiff hairs on the pads of their feet and other types of hair. As they look for food in their territory, these cats can sometimes travel as far as 12 miles. Caracals usually stay hidden because they live alone and don’t make much noise when they move. They blend in with their surroundings, making it easy to catch prey and spot possible dangers.
What Does Caracal Eat?
What does a caracal eat? A caracal eats meat, just like other cats that live in the wild. It can catch and eat rabbits, birds, snakes, lizards, and sometimes even insects because it moves fast. A caracel will sometimes go onto a farmer’s land to eat sheep, goats, or other animals. They eat anything they can catch.
One night a caracel might eat a dove, and the next night, a young impala. A type of antelope is an impala. A young impala weighs about 80 pounds, which is about the same as 13 bricks. Caracals don’t eat the animals they catch if they have hair that is stiff and wiry. Before they eat, they use their claws to pull out this hair. They don’t have any trouble eating feathers; if they’re really hungry, they can even eat rotten meat.
The main things that eat caracals are lions and hyenas. All three of these animals hunt on the savanna, so it’s likely that they will meet at some point. The best defence a caracal has against these animals is its speed. Also, its coat helps it blend in with the sand and colourless plants in its environment. It will sometimes lay on the ground to hide from predators. Caracals are also in danger from people. When these cats try to steal livestock, many farmers kill them.
Caracals are also losing their prey because more people are clearing land and moving into their territory. This could make these cats go hungry. People who are looking for trophies will also hunt them for their skins. The least Concern is the status of the caracal in South Africa when it comes to conservation. This means that the people are not thought to be in danger right now.
How Do Caracals Reproduce?
Caracals stay alone until it’s time for them to mate. A caracal’s most interesting sound is a mating call that sounds like a cough. Several male caracals may fight or try to impress the same female caracal. At some point, the woman picks a man from the group. After mating, the male caracal leaves the female alone to raise the babies.
Related: CAMEL CRICKET (RHAPHIDOPHORIDAE)
Young Ones of a Caracal
It takes a caracal about 69 to 81 days to carry her kits. She finds an old den or burrows where she can have her babies away from dangers like predators. Caracals can have anywhere from one to six babies at once, but most only have two. At birth, each kit weighs between 7 and 9 ounces. A baby caracal is about as big as a pet hamster. The kittens of the caracal’s close relatives, the serval and the golden cat are about the same size. When they are born, kittens don’t have any eyes.
This is also true for kittens that live in homes. It takes a kitten about 6 to 10 days to fully open its eyes. They can move, but they can’t see where they are going. At ten weeks old, the kits stop nursing and start eating meat. Kits stay with their mother for about 10 months, during which time they learn how to hunt from her. Because it takes most of a year to raise one litter of kits, a female caracal only has one litter per year.
How Long Does Caracal Live?
In the wild, both male and female caracals live about 12 years on average. On the other hand, caracals in zoos can live up to 17 years. Caracals live longer in zoos because they are not in danger from predators, get food regularly, and get medical care when needed. As a wild caracal gets older, skin infections and infections caused by injuries can make it sick.
A caracal can also get rabies from another animal and die like a house cat. If a caracal wanders near a road, it could be hit by a car, just like a house cat could be hit by a car if it gets out of the house.
Amazing Caracal Facts!
- A fast cat: a caracal can run up to 50 miles per hour! That’s why it’s also called a gazelle cat.
- A good hunter: A caracal can jump into the air to catch a bird as it’s taking off.
- It can hear very well. Each of a caracal’s 20 muscles in its ears helps it find its prey.
- There are more caracal cats in South Africa and Namibia, where there is a lot of food for them to eat.
- People think that most caracal cats live in the South African mountains of the Eastern Cape.
- In North Africa, the number of caracals seems to be decreasing, possibly because of hunters. Caracals in North Africa are threatened, which means they need to be protected.
- The number of caracals in Asia is likely going down because farmers kill them when they try to hunt their animals.
Are Caracals Carnivores, Herbivores or Omnivores?
Caracals are carnivores, which means they eat meat. They eat a wide range of animals, from small birds to small antelopes. If a caracal catches an animal but doesn’t eat it all, it will drag it into a tree and put it up in the branches to eat later. This keeps other animals like lions and hyenas from stealing the prey while the caracal is waiting to eat it.
Do Caracals Work as Pets?
No, you shouldn’t keep a caracal as a pet for many reasons. So, are caracals dangerous? Even though a caracal is smaller than a lion or tiger, it is still a wild animal, so it is dangerous to keep it around people. Caracals need to hunt, eat meat, move around, and climb trees.
This animal would not be happy as a housecat because it needs to hunt, eat meat, move around, and climb trees. Also, if a family has a dog, a cat that has been tamed, or another pet, that animal could be attacked by the caracel. Caracals are very protective of their territory, so keep that in mind.
Is A Caracal the Same as A Lynx?
No, a caracal and a lynx are not the same things. But a caracal looks a lot like a lynx because both of them have tufts on their ears. In fact, sometimes people call a caracal a Persian lynx or even a desert lynx.
If you look at a lynx’s coat, you will see that it is spotted, while a caracal’s coat is one solid colour. Also, there are no lynxes in Africa. They live in Eurasia and North America. Caracals live in the hot desert, while lynxes live in cold, sometimes snowy places.
How High Can A Caracal Jump?
A caracal cat can jump up to 10 feet into the air when sitting down. Imagine this: If a caracal jumps 10 feet into the air, that’s as high as a female giraffe can jump. Their strong back legs push them up, which helps them climb trees and hunt. Caracals can catch ducks, geese, and other birds in flight with this skill.
Even though caracals can jump very high, they don’t hurt themselves when they land on the ground. Most cats are like this, whether they live in the wild or with a family. Scientists, animal behaviourists, and other people who have watched caracals run, jump, and flip sometimes call them the acrobats of the cat world.
What Are Some Distinguishing Features of Caracals?
Caracals have short fur and long, black tufts on their ears.
What Are Some Predators of Caracals?
People, hyenas, and lions are among the animals that eat caracals.
Are Caracals Good Pets?
As a general rule, caracals should not be kept as house pets. Since they are natural scavengers and ferocious predators, caracals don’t make suitable house pets. They thrive in their natural environment, where they are free to roam, run, jump, and hunt.
Can A Caracal Hurt You?
People who own small dogs or smaller cats are especially at risk from caracals. Even more so, when they target a child, they are capable of doing severe damage. Of course, if they feel threatened, they can attack an adult.
How Fast Is a Caracal?
At its top speed, a caracal may reach 50 miles per hour.
What Is the Difference Between a Serval and A Caracal?
Caracals are larger, have a golden-brown coat, and have black tufts on their ears; servals are smaller and live in a more restricted area. Servals are smaller and less widespread than caracals and are spotted yellow and black.
What Are the Differences Between Caracals and Lynx?
Size, colour, physical traits, danger, habitat, lifespan, and diet, are only some of the major distinctions between a caracal and a lynx.
How Many Caracals Are Left?
Some experts claim less than 50 caracals are left in India due to a lack of sightings, while others say getting a precise count is difficult.
How Much Can a Caracal Cost?
Prices for caracals often range from $1,500 to $20,000 USD. The initial investment of an exotic cat is typically this much. Expenses for a caracal’s nourishment will also be substantial.
Are Caracal Cats Aggressive?
The caracal is an aggressive, lonely, secretive, and nocturnal creature.
Do Caracals Eat Cats?
Domestic cats and Cape grey mongooses are among the small carnivores known to be preyed upon by caracals (Galerella pulverulenta).
Why Do Caracals Hiss So Much?
Cats use hissing as a form of communication, and some people may interpret hissing as an aggressive gesture. To communicate how they feel, they make noises like hisses and growls reminiscent of a purring cat.
How Long Do Caracal Cats Live?
Caracals have a wildlife expectancy of about 12 years but can survive up to 17 years in captivity.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.