Caracal – Cat 1 of 3 in the Caracal family of cats - Wild Cat Family

Caracal – Cat 1 of 3 in the Caracal family of cats

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Caracal (Caracal caracal)

The Caracal wild cat is one of the three cats in the Caracal family of cats and its closest relatives are the Serval and African Golden Cat. We will be covering these three cats in the next few posts.

Caracal cats can be easily identified by their plain reddish coats and long black ear tufts. This cat is often called a lynx due to their similar ear tufts, however they are not closely related to true lynxes.

Caracals are well known as one of the exotic feline species bred in America for the pet trade, however their natural distribution is in Africa and Asia. Although relatively common across Africa, Caracals are declining in some areas of their range in Asia.

The Caracal has an incredible leaping ability and can jump vertically up to 3 meters / 10 feet to catch birds in flight. Watch a slow-motion video clip and the science behind how cats always land on their feet.

Note this cat's taxonomy can be a bit confusing - its common name, genus name and family/lineage name are all the same - 'caracal' AND its Latin species name is 'Caracal caracal'!.

African Caracal Cat - one of the three wild cats in the Caracal family.

Caracal Cats in the News

Cape Town’s caracals are exposed to harmful ‘forever chemicals’ through their diet

“We have studied the diet, hunting behaviour and pollutant levels in Cape Town’s caracals (South Africa). Our latest findings reveal extensive exposure to these chemicals across the city’s complex mosaic of habitats.

A worrying trend emerged: caracals frequently hunt in areas where there is a higher risk of organochlorine exposure. Individuals that hunt closer to denser human populations, and in wetlands and vineyards, have higher levels of both the insecticide DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) and polychlorinated biphenyls in their blood and fat tissues compared with those that hunt further away.”

Image credit and full article:

African Caracal Cat

Ustyurt Nature Reserve Spots Caracal With Baby Kitten in Tow

“The Ustyurt Nature Reserve located in the Mangystau Region recently posted photographs of a caracal with her kitten on its Instagram account. The species is included in Kazakhstan’s Red Book of Endangered Species.

Caracals can be found in deserts, semi-desert areas, and mountain valleys of Kazakhstan. The exact number of animals is still unknown. Their number has been decreasing from year to year, so the species is protected and listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species of ‘least concern,’ ” wrote the IUCN’s press service on Instagram. “

Image credit and full article:


Endangered caracal monitored in Aegean province

“An endangered caracal and its offspring have been spotted with a camera trap placed in the forest in the Aegean province of Muğla (Turkey).

“We recorded a mother caracal and her two small cubs in Türkiye as part of our research. This rare wild cat species is stuck in the southwest of our country and tries to survive in isolation from other caracal populations around the world,” İlemin explained.

The main threats to the species are forest fires due to climate change, poaching, habitat destruction and stray dogs in the wild, İlemin stated.”

Image credit and full article at:

Pallas Cat

Zoology - Understanding the Animal World

Do you want to know more about Zoology? I think we all know it is the study of animals but what exactly does it entail?

Wondrium (Great Courses Plus) is a streaming service of educational lectures. They have a video series on Zoology that introduces the subject and gives a basic understanding of zoology and animal conservation. It is presented by experts from the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

Sample video 16: Carnivore Mammals: Feline, Canine and Ursine

"Lets turn now from herbivores to carnivores like lions, tigers, bears, wolves, cats, and dogs. Among the many insights you'll learn are the different ways carnivores evolved to walk and capture prey, as well as their evolutionary history, which stretches back to tree-dwelling animals that lived 50 and 60 million years ago...."

Wondrium has a free trial of 14 days, so you can easily cover this series in that time with 1-2 videos a day. Watch the trailer here.

This series is also ideal for anyone considering a career in Zoology, so please forward this information to anyone you know that could benefit.

Zoology lecture series by the Smithsonian

If you know of anyone that may be interested in studying wild cats, please share this post with them.

There is a dire need for research on the lesser known smaller cats.

I would love to encourage as many budding zoologists as possible to specialize in these wonderful animals!

Many thanks!

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