Caracal [Caracal caracal]
The caracal has a reddish coat with greyish highlights. It has a cream coloured belly with very faint orange spots. The ears of the Caracal are black with long tufts of fur that stick out from the tips of the ears. The Caracal has a muscular body that makes it move with great power. It has wide paws that help it move quietly.
The caracal is mainly a nocturnal hunter but can also hunt in the twilight hours. The Caracal won’t just attempt to land animals like Klipspringer and hares but it will also attempt to hunt birds. The Caracal is fast and strong for is size, making hunting Sand Rats, Jerboas, Rock Hyrax and Squirrels much easier. The Caracal can leap up to 5 meters from a sitting position. By leaping into the air, they can pluck birds easily out of the air.
Caracals don’t have a fixed breeding season and can breed throughout the year and the female is known to breed with three males. The size of the litter varies between 1 to 6 kittens. After a gestation period of 78 days. The kittens can gain 21g every day and reach a mature age at 17 months.
The Caracal is an animal that is mostly nocturnal and lives a very secretive life. The Caracal is a very aggressive animal. They are hunted by farmers because they are a pest that attacks the farmer’s live stock. Because the Caracal is hunted by farmers, it became even more elusive. Your best chance to spot a Caracal during a Kruger Park Safari is to go in the afternoon.
The Caracal can be found in wooded areas and dry savannah areas. They can also live in rugged and mountainous areas up to 3000m above sea level. The Caracal, like other cats that call dry and arid areas home, can survive a long time without water. However, the Caracal can receive some fluids from its prey.
Caracals can be found all over South Africa and prefers open areas in wooded savannahs.