Caracal by Derek Keats

African caracal

Caracal caracal

Capable of vertically jumping 9 meters

Behavior and diet

The caracal possesses an extended tuft of hair on the very top of its very large ears, which can reach more than half the size of the ear itself. The word 'caracal' comes from the Turkish word "karakulak" which means "black ear." While hunting, the caracal flattens these large ears back to make them less noticeable. Caracals are nocturnal hunters and hunt animals including: rodents, guinea fowl, hyraxes, monkeys and lizards. Although male caracals average around 15-18kg in weight, they can hunt and bring down prey 40kg in weight. The coat is mainly a solid color ranging from brownish ash or reddish-sandy color. The underbelly is white with indistinct spotting or blotching. After a gestation of 10 to 11 weeks, the female gives birth to up to six young. On average, caracals have three young in their litters.

Did you know?

  • Caracals are capable of jumping 3 meters (9 feet) vertically and are skillful bird hunters.
  • The black ear tufts reach around 4.5 centimeters (1.8 inches) in length.
  • Caracals can also be found in solid black color.
  • Caracals have a bobbed tail, which helps them when jumping in the air.