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Caracal at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Click to see more.


Caracal caracal


Felidae, the cat family

Conservation Status

Least concern, IUCN


This cat ranges from central India west through Asia to Israel and Jordan, south into the Arabian Peninsula and the continent of Africa.


Dry habitats: deserts, savannas, acacia scrub, arid steppes and mountains (not found in sand dunes).


Possibly the best bird hunter known! It is an expert jumper, often catches birds by leaping at them to a height up to 10 feet and swats them out of the air with its paws: up to 10 at a time.

There are a few theories for their tufts: used as antennas, keep flies away, as camouflage in tall grass by breaking outline of its head and, most widely accepted, the tufts help them communicate.

A medium-sized cat, sandy brown, no spots or stripes with pointed ears tipped with 2 inch tufts of black hair. Described as “lynx-like” in appearance, with slender body and slim legs, but with a tail much longer than the true lynxes. Shoulder height is 16-17”, head and body 23-42”, tail 9”. Males can weigh up to 40 pounds and females can weigh up to 35 pounds. Like most small cats, they may purr when content and make a variety of mews, growls and hisses.

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