Carlee – Caracal

Carlee is a male caracal (Caracal caracal) born in early January, 2015. He will be an integral part of research the foundation is collecting for a book on behavior, health, nutrition, and soundness. We are excited to welcome this handsome guy to our family. He is still looking for a sponsor to name him!

The caracal is known for its remarkable leaping ability, and is possibly the fastest cat of its size. It looks similar to the lynx but is smaller and has a longer tail. The body of the caracal is slender, with reddish brown fur on every area except the chin, throat and belly, which is white. The eyes are ringed in white, with a distinctive black line running from the eye to the nose. The ears are narrow, pointed, and tipped with a long tuft of black fur, similar to the lynx. The backs of its ears are black – in fact, the name caracal is derived from the Turkish word “karakulak,” meaning “black ear.” Melanistic, or black, caracals have also been reported.

Largely nocturnal, caracals hunt by night for rodents, birds, young impala and antelopes. The caracal is strong and fast, and like the leopard, it will sometimes place its prey in the lower limbs of trees, returning to feed off it for several days. Like other cats living in dry, arid or semi-desert locations, the caracal can survive for long periods without water, by obtaining moisture from its prey.

The caracal’s habitat ranges from Central and Southern Africa, (excluding the dense tropical vegetation along the equator), the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Caracal Trivia: Caracals have been used to help clear airport runways of birds, due to their ability to leap and catch birds in the air.

Caracal Statistics:

Body Length average 28 inches, tail 8 – 9 inches
Height at Shoulders up to 17 inches
Weight average of 37 lbs but can be as much as 70 lbs
Gestation Period 71 days
Litter Size 2-3
Life Span 19 years
Status Least Concern