Caracal cat Classification
Caracal caracal taken in the Serengeti, Tanzania
By Nick and Melissa Baker, [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

The Caracal's natural distribution is in Africa and Asia, however this cat 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)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Caracal

Species: Caracal caracal (Caracal)


C.c. caracal

C.c. nubicus

C.c. schmitzi


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).

African Serval Cat stickers, magnets and pins
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African Caracal Cat stickers, magnets and pins
Caracal Cat Classification Diagram
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

Caracal (Caracal caracal) Subspecies

There are three subspecies of Caracals according to the last Felidae taxonomic revision in 2017, 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

Historically up to eight subspecies were recognised.

Caracal Conservation

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 (Caracal caracal) Research

Here are some papers published on Caracal cats. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.

View more articles on Caracal caracal in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database (scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list).

Consider joining the Friends of the Cat Specialist Group to access the full articles and receive their journal Cat News covering the latest wild cat research.

Map of Africa with Countries and Capitals

African Caracal Cat walking along path in savannah by Pete Oxford

Caracal Cat Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Caracals:

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