The caracal is a medium-sized cat that lives in woodlands and savannas in Africa, Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. They are carnivores,
Caracal is pronounced: "CAR-uh-call." The word comes from the Turkish karakulak, meaning black ear. Each ear is controlled by about 20 muscles, helping a caracal zero in on the location of a prey animal.
Caracal behavior and facts
- Caracals are nocturnal (hunting at night) and solitary. They eat almost anything they can catch including rodents, birds and small deer. They have even been known to attack sitting ostriches.
- Caracal are known for their jumping ability, sometimes leaping as high as 10 feet off the ground.
From birth to death
- Gestation: 69 to 78 days
- Females give birth to a litter of 2 to 6 kittens.
- Kittens are weaned at 10 weeks.
- Sexual maturity: 18 to 24 months
- Lifespan: 12 years in the wild; 17 years in captivity
- Length: 24 to 26 inches with a 10- to 13-inch-long tail
- Weight: males, 25 to 45 pounds; females 18 to 30 pounds
CITES Appendix II
Caracal, the Oregon Zoo and you
The zoo's caracals live in the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit.
Hunting and habitat loss threaten the caracal. You can help them by joining the volunteer team at the Oregon Zoo and get involved with other conservation groups. Many organizations focus on conservation in Africa, including the African Wildlife Foundation, Tusk Trust, Conserve Africa International, the World Wildlife Fund and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. You can also help caracals and all animals by not buying products made from wild animal parts.
Size doesn't matter
Caracals can catch prey 2 to 3 times their mass.