|At a Glance|
|Size||65 - 90cm at shoulder|
|Mass||11 - 18 kg|
|Lifespan||12 - 15 years|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
The Caracal is a medium size cat which is normally golden or sand in colour although in some areas they are grey. It has very distinguishing black edge to the ears with long tufts which give them an unmistakeable appearance.
It is incorrectly called a Lynx and it is not related to the Lynx family.
Caracal are active both during daytime and at night. They are solitary, territorial animals and fearless hunters and will not hesitate to hunt a prey bigger than themselves. The Caracal has also been known to leap up into the air to successfully catch and kill flying birds.
Their diet consists mainly of rodents, rock hyrax, birds (including ostriches), small antelopes, and rabbits. The Caracal tends to avoid eating very stiff fur by neatly shearing it off with their claws, but they are tolerant of feathers.
In Krantzkloof their primary diet is most likely to be Rock Hyraxes.
The gestation period is approximately 68-81 days, and females produce a litter of 1-4 kittens, with 2 being the average. They are weaned at 10 weeks, and will remain with their mothers for up to a year.
The Caracal is found in most of Africa, Central Asia, Southwest Asia and India. It is common in a range of habitats, including woodland, savanna, scrub and open semi-desert and is also found in the humid forest zones.
Caracals live in the drier savannah and woodland regions of sub-Saharan Africa, and prefer the scrubbier, arid habitats. They will also inhabit evergreen and montane forests, but are not found in tropical rain forests.
Caracal are considered a threat to livestock and often killed by farmers.
Caracal are relatively new to Krantzkloof and the first sightings were recorded in approximately 2010. Since then they have been frequently recorded on camera traps and females with kittens have been seen by visitors to the reserve.
It is believed that the name is derived from a Turkish word “karakulak” meaning “black ear.”
The caracals are excellent acrobats and jumpers and can land safely. In the Middle-East Caracal were often trained to hunt game birds.
A video clip is available on YouTube.