Genus: Felis Caracal
Range: Africa (except rain forest belt) Middle East To, N.W India.
Length: 2 - 2 1/2 ft
Height to shoulder: 1 - 1 1/2 ft
Weight: 31 - 44 lbs
Tail: 9 - 12 in
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
Habit: Solitary,Territorial,and active by night.
Diet: Birds,Small to medium-size mammals,reptiles,berries.
Lifespan: Up to 17 yrs in Captivity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".