caracal

Caracal

The Caracal in appearance resembles the Lynx in having characteristic dark tufts on its large, pointed ears and is indeed often referred to as the African Lynx or Desert Lynx, however the caracal is not closely related to the true lynx species.

The cat is found in dry savanna and woodland areas, scrubland and rugged terrain in mountainous regions, where it is known to live up to 3000 metres. Like other cats found in dry, arid or semi-dessert locations the caracal can survive for long periods without water, instead obtaining its requirement form the metabolic moisture of its prey.

In hunting, the caracal is mainly nocturnal, but will also use the twilight hours to search out its prey. Diurnal activity has also been observed, specially in the hunting of bird. For its size the caracal is strong and fast, and as well as taking smaller prey such as jerboas, sand rat, ground squirrel and rock hyrax, it can also bring down the larger reedbuck and duiker. Much in the way of the Leopard, the caracal will sometimes cache its larger prey up in the lower limbs of trees and return to feed on its kill over several days. The caracal is also well known for using its agility and superior jumping ability to catch birds just after take-off – here prey species include pidgeons and guineafowl.

In most parts of its range the caracal has no set breeding period and a female may often mate with up to three males .The litter size is usually between 1-6 kittens and they are born after a gestation period of approximately 71 days. The kittens have a daily weight gain of approximately 21g per day and although they reach maturity at about 16-18 months of age they are often independent from about 12 months.

The life span of a caracal is 19 years

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