The caracal 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 even though the caracal is not closely related to the true lynx species. Extending the visual comparison, the body of the caracal is slimmer and less stocky. Its legs are thinner and its tail is longer than the lynx. It can grow up to 3ft in body length and sport a tail about a third of its body size. Its coloration is generally yellowish brown to a darker red/brown with the undersides of the cat, areas around the eyes and under the chin are white and the backs of its ears black.
In hunting, the caracal is mainly nocturnal but will also use the twilight hours to search out its prey. For its size, the caracal is strong and fast. It can take smaller prey such as rodents, small mammals, birds and reptiles as well as reedbuck and antelope which are often cached under loose grass and foliage and returned to during the next day.
Habitat / Distribution
Varies depending on the location within its range, which spreads from Central and South Africa (excluding the areas of dense tropical vegetation along the equator), through parts of the Middle East and Southern Asia across into India. The cat is found in dry savanna and woodland areas, scrubland and rugged terrain in mountainous regions.
Reproduction / Social System
Litter size is generally 1 to 3 with a gestation of 70-80 days. Their lifespan is about 19 years.