Caracal

by Katerina Bonaldi

The Caracal (Caracal caracal) is also known as the Persian Lynx or African Lynx despite the fact that the caracal is not a lynx at all. The caracal is thought to be most closely related to the African golden cat and the serval. The caracals name is believed to come from the Turkish word Karakulak, which means black ears. The caracal typically has 20 different muscles in the caracal’s ears which enables the caracal to detect prey. The caracal is normally dark red, grey, or golden sand in color and as the caracals name suggests, the caracal’s ears are black, with tufts. Young caracals bear reddish spots on the underbelly that disappear when they grow up.

Habitat/Threats

IUCN_Caracal_1000

The caracal is not only an African cat, it is found in many other countries and continents.  In Africa alone, however, they have a very large range. They are found in Morocco, Tanzania, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Senegal, Guinea, Nigeria, Chad, Tunisia, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sedan, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the whole southern portion of Africa. Due to such a large habitat the Caracal is least concerned, meaning they are in no danger in terms of extinction. The two biggest threats to the Caracal’s existence are deforestation and persecution, due to the fact that they are carnivores and attack livestock.

Background

The caracal is a very misunderstood animal. Like most cat species people believe that they would make a perfect pet. This is in fact a false statement. A caracal is an obligate carnivore, meaning their entire diet is composed of meat. These cats are very agile and can even jump up to catch a bird in the middle of its flight. The caracal can jump up to ten feet high while on the hunt for birds. Aside from birds, a Caracal can take down a prey that is two to three times its own size. The caracal is also the fastest cat of its size, and uses its speed to run down prey such as hyraxes, hares and small antelopes. Like most cat species the caracal is solitary, and only interacts socially during breeding seasons. In the wild they maintain a habitat ranging from 5 square kilometers to 48 square kilometers in South Africa specifically. Another thing that makes a caracal a superior hunter are their scent glands they have between their toes and on their face, scents are how this cat communicates.

Caracal in Culture

downloadIn folklore:http://books.google.com/books?id=_loNuNFNs0YC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=caracal+in+folklore&source=bl&ots=0-vw3rf1sf&sig=Y_ffInJwPnRCz-eSUSRkcfzPQyA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xj9MU_b3M7LNsQSfzIDoCw&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=caracal%20in%20folklore&f=false

Caracal in stamps

Gambia issued a set of stamps dedicated to African Wildcats on 16 May 2012. The set consists of one 3-stamp and one single-stamp miniature sheet. The 3-stamp MS shows a Caracal, a Cheetah and a Jungle Cat on the stamps – all three denominated GMD 40.

References

http://www.arkive.org/caracal/caracal-caracal/

http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/caracal

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/3847/0

Needs to be formatted properly. Add additional links and include intext citations in the text above.

Needs more images – cultural images such as https://www.pinterest.com/pin/437764026250023126/

ancient egyptian art and religion and african folktales: http://books.google.com/books?id=me0OmRYFRkcC&printsec=frontcover&sa=X&ei=94cCUfzlD-X74QSMpoHYBQ&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

External Sources

The Cederberg Caracal Project

Feline Conservation Federation