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Caracal Info
Genus:

Felis caracal

SIZE:
Length:

2 - 2 1/2 ft

Height to shoulder:

1 - 1 1/2 ft

Weight:

31 - 44 lbs

Tail:

9 - 12 in

BREEDING:
Sexual maturity:

6 - 24 Months

Mating Season:

Highly Variable

Gestation:

79 days

No. of Young:

1 - 6 Usually 2 or 3

Weaning:

10 - 25 Weeks

LIFESTYLE:
Habit:

Solitary,Territorial,and active by night.

Diet:

Birds,Small to medium-size mammals,reptiles, berries.

Lifespan:

Up to 17 yrs in Captivity.


Distribution

Found over most of Africa,except the Sahara Desert and the equatorial rainforest,Also found in Arabia, south western Asia,Tukestan and India.The turkmenian race is rare and protected.


Habits

The caracal lives mainly on dry terrian from India to Africa.It prefers stony,scrubby ground and desert steppes, But it will venture into dry grasslands and savanna woodlands. During the day the caracal usually rests among rocks or in hoes,where its coat color blends with its terrain.The caracal`s ears are larger and have longer tufts then those of other cats When they encounter others of its kind,its ears become signaling devices. As it moves its head from side to side. They hold its ears upright when alert, but when stalking prey, it flattens its ears to make them less conspicuous.


Food & Hunting

They hunt mostly at night,often over wide areas,using its speed and agility to stalk and snatch prey,Mostly it catches birds up to the size of a guineafowl.It also hunts rodents, hyraxes,monkeys,lizards,and young antelopes,and it eats vegetable matter such as berries. It kills most small mammals by waiting behind cover and suprising them with a sudden dash and a bite on the neck. At water holes it might lie in wait and kill several members of a flock of birds before they can fly off.Since it can climb trees and jump over six feet, the caracal can seize birds roosting in low branches.It can even leap up and strike birds from the air. They usually drag its victim into a tree where it can feed undisturbed by scavengers.


Breeding

The solitary animal pairs only when ready to breed,and its mating season varies.After a gestation of 10 to 11 weeks,the female gives birth to two or three young,For the first few weeks,the young remain hidden in the den.They can not see well until they are about 10 days old, so they do not wander away.By the age of four to five weeks,the kittens are lively and playful.After two months the kittens start to eat soild food,but they stay close to thier moms side for another 10 months.


History

The Caracal was once tamed and trained for bird hunting in Iran and India. They were put into arenas containing a flock of pigeons, and wagers were made as to how many the cat would take down. This is the origination of the expression "to put a cat amongst the pigeons".


Did You Know ?

  • The name caracal comes from the Turkish karakulak which means (black ear).

  • Though usually silent,the caracal occasionally cries out like a leopard.When disturbed at a kill, it hisses and growls like other cats.

  • There are reports of caracals catching and killing roosting birds of prey, including tawny eagles and martial eagles.

  • Caracals can also kill large snakes.One adult in Indian zoo killed a Cobra.

  • Its hunting skills were once admired in parts of Asia, Where it was tamed and trained to hunt game.






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