Caracal caracal

Our two resident caracals are Lelia and Deigo.  These two come from some very promising bloodlines that will help keep this species strong!  Genetic diversity is very important in maintaining any species, but especially important in keeping declining populations strong.  Both were hand-reared by keepers here at the park.  Lelia is used in shows and continues to be a sweetie.

The caracal is a fiercely territorial medium-sized cat ranging over Western Asia, South Asia and Africa.  These tufted-eared cats are about three feet long, with a tail about a foot long, and reddish brown fur, except for a white chin, throat, and belly, and a black line running from each eye to the nose.  Both sexes look the same; males can weigh from 29 to 42 lb, while females weigh 13 to 26 lb.  The caracal is distributed over Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and India. Its chief habitat is dry steppes and semideserts, but it also inhabits woodlands, savannah, and scrub forest.  They generally prefer open country, so long as there is sufficient cover, in the form of bushes and rocks, from which to ambush prey.

Its life expectancy in the wild is twelve years, and seventeen years in captivity

After 70 days gestation, the female will give birth to 1-4 kittens.  Kittens become fully independent at 12 months of age.

Interesting Facts:

¨ The pupils of a caracal's eyes contract to circles rather than slits.

¨ A caracal’s hind legs are noticeably longer than his front legs.

¨ Caracals' ears are each controlled by about 20 muscles to help these hunters better determine where prey is hiding. The tufts of fur offer an added advantage in pinpointing prey.