SIZE: Shoulder height 45 cm, mass (m) 17 kg, (f) 11 kg.
COLOUR: The coat is yellowish-red, varying from pale sandy to brick red along the back with a paler, usually spotted, abdomen. The face has black and white markings on it. The pointed ears end in long black tufts.
MOST LIKE: The Serval, which is roughly the same size but yellow and spotted with black.
HABITAT: In open, dry country from semi-desert to savanna. Sleeps in crevices among rocks, stones, or fallen trees.
The Caracal has very characterisic tufts of black hair at the end of its pointed ears. It is very good at bush camouflage, and is scarcely noticed when lying frozen against the earth. This graceful cat is a adept hunter and possesses great speed and lightning reflexes: it is a simple matter for it to snatch a flying bird out of the air. The caracal has a leopard-like bark and is robustly built with heavy limbs. It has powerful jaws, long, sharp teeth and its paws have curved heavy claws which make it a fierce predator, which can become very dangerous when injured or cornered. In the wild, they prey on dassies, birds, lizards and small buck, and are generally averse to taking carrion, although they have been known to do so. They are very adept tree climbers, and often take their prey into a tree to be eaten. The caracal prefers to remove fur and feathers from the carcass before eating the rest. The female caracal produces a litter of one to three in a tree or disused aardvark hole.
WILDLIFE PARKS AND RESERVES WHERE THIS SPECIES IS FOUND: