Caracal - Felis caracal

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Lion - Panthera Leo | Leopard - Panthera pardus | Cheetah - Acinonyx jubatus | Caracal - Felis caracal | Serval - Felis serval | African Wildcat - Felis lybica | Small spotted Cat - Felis nigripes


Afrikaans Rooikat
Zulu Ndabushe Tswana Thwane 
Hwang Twana Venda Thwani

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F 5 cm
H 6 cm

Distribution Dung
3-6 cm
Sometimes buried

Visible Male/Female Differences

Male heavier and more powerfully built.


Caracals have a very wide habitat range but does not occur in true desert.


Mammals up to the size of medium-sized antelope weighing about 40 kg. Also takes birds up to the size of guinea fowl, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods. They will return to kills if they are not disturbed. Caracals scavenge only rarely.


Litters of up to four are usually born in summer after a gestation of 78-81 days. Eyes open at 6-10 days. Kittens eats solid food at 4 weeks and are weaned at 4-6 months. Full grown at 10 months, when families split up. Sexually mature at 14 months.


Solitary and active at night but may be seen at dawn and dusk. The territories are 15-65 sq km but are larger in dryer areas. Young males moved up to 180 km away from where they were born.

The employ the notmal feline hunting method by stalking, a rush from close range, a pounce and grab with the claws. Prey is killed with a bite to the throat or the nape of the neck. Fur may be plucked from prey.  Feeding begins at the soft skin inside the thighs whith antelope and sheep. The juicy hindquarters are eaten first and then the shoulder. The guts are not removed from the prey whereas the leopard removes the guts. Prey may hidden and covered.

Dung and Field sign

Dung is 2 cm thick and elongated with tapered ends, buried or left exposed. Hair or wool of kills sometimes plucked. Feeding starts inside hind leg. Guts not removed.


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