Caracal Natural History
This medium sized cat can reach lengths of up to 91cm and while females usually weigh between 6 to 12 kg, large males can weigh as much as 19 kg.
Habitat and Distribution
This species can be found over the majority of Africa, but also through some parts of Asia as far as Northern India. Throughout this range it makes its home in a variety of habitats including dry forests and savannahs, however it feels most at home in steppes and deserts.
The average lifespan of this species in captivity is around 19 years, while wild individuals generally live for 10 to 12 years.
This is a carnivore which will eat a variety of prey including mammals such as rodents and a variety of birds. They are well known for being able to jump up and catch birds in mid-flight.
Groups and Breeding
As with most cats Caracals are generally solitary animals, however they are some times known to also live in pairs. The females are able to breed at any time of year, however they are most likely to be receptive in times during which food is plentiful. After a gestation of 60 to 80 days the female will give birth to up to 6 kittens.
The main threat which this species faces in the wild is from hunting by farmers who see them as vermin because they are known to eat poultry and other young livestock.
Between the pads of their feet, these cats have thick hairs which are thought to help them move through soft sand.
The Caracal During Your Day Out in Kent
At Wingham Wildlife Park we have a single female on permanent display named Maya, however we also occasionally have stud males on loan to us from other zoos and as a result have regularly bred this species in the pas few years.