The caracal (Caracal caracal) is a medium-sized wild cat that is around 1m (3.3 ft) long. The caracal is sometimes called the Desert Lynx or African Lynx, but it is not a member of the Lynx genus. The caracal is native to Africa, Central Asia, Southwest Asia and India. The cat’s name comes from the Turkish word “karakulak”, which means “black ear”.
The caracal has large, tufted ears like a lynx. Its fur is reddish-brown. Caracals have white fur on the abdomen, chin and throat. Black lines run from the eye to the nose. Its fur coat is short and very dense. The ears are lightly colored in the front and are black in the back. The top of its ears have long, black tufts that are about 4.4 cm (1.8 in) long and look like the ear tufts of a lynx. Males can weigh up to 18 kilograms (40 lb), and females up to 16 kilograms (35 lb). Caracals are about 40 cm (16 in) to 50 cm (20 in) tall at the shoulder. Caracals have a short tail. The male and female look the same. Its eye pupils shrink to circles, while other cats’ pupils shrink to slits.
The caracal inhabits woodlands, savannas, semi-deserts, and scrub forests. Although it hunts on the ground, it can climb trees and swim swiftly to catch fish. They are not found in tropical rain forests
Like most carnivorous cats, caracals have a very broad diet. It mainly consumes small mammals and birds. It also preys upon the young of larger mammals, such as the impala and antelope. Caracals sometimes eat lizards, snakes and insects.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?