Caracal cats (Caracal caracal) are easily recognizable by their long black ear tufts and plain reddish coats. Although not genetically related to true Lynxes this cat is often called a lynx due to their similar ear tufts. Its natural distribution is in Africa and Asia, however the Caracal is well known as one of the exotic feline species bred in America for the pet trade.
Key Facts about Caracals
~ One of few cats with plain coats ~
~ Incredible leaping ability ~
~ Multi-continent - Africa & Asia ~
Caracal (Caracal caracal) Classification
Caracal cats are classified in the genus Caracal and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Caracal species is:
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)
Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)
Species: Caracal caracal (Caracal)
The scientific name for the Caracal cat is Caracal caracal which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).
Caracal (Caracal caracal) Subspecies
Historically up to eight subspecies of Caracals were recognized, however the last Felidae taxonomic revision proposes only three subspecies, pending further research:
1. Caracal caracal caracal - Southern and East Africa
2. Caracal caracal nubicus - North and West Africa
3. Caracal caracal schmitzi - Middle East to India
Caracal Conservation and Research
The Caracal conservation status is Least Concern (LC) globally as the cat is common and widespread throughout sub-Saharan Africa. However it is listed as Near Threatened (NT) for the Mediterranean region due to range losses in North Africa and Asia.
In Southern Africa the Caracal, together with its sympatric species - the Black-Backed Jackal, are considered problem animals, and a Predator Management Forum has been established in South Africa to tackle this ongoing predator conflict issue.
A study on the urban caracals that have been isolated on the Cape Peninsular has highlighted the issues of rodent poisoning and road kill as factors affecting Caracal cats in the Western Cape of South Africa.
There is a need for urgent research in the northern African and Asian regions of the Caracal distribution, where numbers are declining.
Caracal Cat Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Caracals:
- Caracal Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Caracal Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Caracal Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group