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Caracal

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

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Caracal

Unread postby Wild@Heart » Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:56 am

Caracal (Caracal caracal)


resized by bert
Classification
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Caracal

Other names

Afrikaans: Rooikat
French: Caracal
German: Karakal
Dutch: Caracal
Portuguese: Caracal

The Caracal is a medium-sized cat. Caracals are labeled as small cats, but are the heaviest of all small cats, as well as the fastest. The Caracal resembles a lynx and for a long time it was considered a close relative of the lynxes. It is in fact related to the Serval. The Caracal is 65 cm in length (about 2 ft), plus 30 cm tail (about 1 foot). The colour of the fur is variable: it may be wine-red, grey or sand-coloured. Melanistic (black) caracals also occur. The most conspicuous feature of the caracal are its long, tufted black ears, which also explain the origin of its name—"karakulak", Turkish for "black ear". Their ears are controlled by 20 different muscles, to help them find their prey. The tufts of fur help pinpoint their prey.

Habitat
Caracals are distributed over Africa and West Asia. Their habitat is dry steppes and semi-deserts, but also include woodlands, savanna, and scrub forest. They are solitary, or paired, territorial cats. A caracal may survive without drinking for a long period—the water demand is satisified with the body fluids of the prey. It hunts at night (but in colder seasons also in the daytime) for rodents and hares; rarely it may even attack a gazelle, a small antelope or a young ostrich. They are most well-known for their skill with hunting birds; a caracal is able to snatch a bird in flight, sometimes more than one at a time. Caracals can jump and climb exceptionally well, which enables them to catch hyraxes better than probably any other carnivore.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity occurs at about 20 months. Gestation is 70 - 78 days and between 1 to 4 young are born.

Conservation status
Lower risk

source: Wikipedia
NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER

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Caracal

Unread postby Owl » Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:24 pm

As you'll know WJ, caracal are nocturnal and hence difficult to see anywhere, however they are not infrequently picked up on night drives in Kruger.

I've had two daytime sightings in the last couple of years. One on the drive from Orpen to Talamati and another on the Shawu plains east of Mopani.

There used to be a semi-tame one at Augrabies rest camp, but I think she's gone now. Marakele, Golden Gate and Mountain Zebra are other venues where they are regularly reported and I'd imagine Mapungubwe too.

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caracal

Unread postby wildjohn » Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:33 am

Yes, they are a current threat to Karoo farmers' sheep.
It will be very difficult to change the engrained attitudes of the old guard of Karoo farmers to not persecute them.
I hear that b/bjackal are actually worse and Caracal are only really a problem in proximity to hills and mountains.
There are various strategies employed to reduce Caracal predation - a) penning lams during the critical lambing season - farmers complain that it is hard work though ?
I think laziness, b) sending larger more aggressive sheep/goat ('hamels') into mountain veld to oppose caracals and all and sundry.
I know Anatolian sheep dogs are good to protect livestock from large predators - that can be employed I suppose.
Know of one farmer in Karoo who catches them on a continual basis and relocates them elsewhere, and he reckons it has reduced his caracal population density and lamb predation incidences.
It is very time consuming though, and labour intensive, though he doesn't mind doing it, as he likes them.

Best place to see caracal in W Cape (the province as whole I mean) would be Karoo Nat. Park - must book onto a night drive.
I saw twice one evening though wasn't an official tourist one.

Cape Point reserve might also be good.
Just keep driving roads at good times (late & early) and hope to bump into them.
I would love to see more photos of them in wild - probably only seen about 4 that I know are in the wild. Many of the famous big photographers (no names to be mentioned)have wonderful pictures of them, though they are actually tame ones that wander a bit to the edge of a camp/homestead so that they actually look like they are in the wild...Now there's a challenge for you guys/girls, knights and angels or whatever..

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CLEAN: Caracal

Unread postby Impisi08 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:25 pm

Caracal near Pretoriuskop. It crossed the H1-1 in front of my car and then looked back for a few seconds.

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Unread postby Boulder » Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:06 pm

Took my Mother in Law to Addo this morning through the new Colchester end Gate and 100 metres into the Game Area I stopped to take an impossible shot of a Kudu into the sun. After doing that I turned to look on the left hand side of the road and there was this beauty in much nicer light...Thanks for being so considerate Rooikat (Caracal)
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Unread postby naomi c » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:50 am

Amazing caracal footage on 50/50 last night.
Caracal killing an African Wildcat in KTP - in the middle of the road!! The Wildcat put up a tremendous fight but it stood no chance.
And in Kruger, near Shingwidzi, one catching a Water Mongoose. The person who sent in this footage was photographing the mongoose when all of a sudden the caracal appeared and snatched it!!
Caracal is top of my wishlist - have never seen one in the wild.

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Unread postby Kevin M » Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:13 am

The park in which I have seen the most caracal is West Coast National Park. The Postberg section in particular. The Strandveld Fynbos supports large numbers of rodents which I imagine has a effect on higher order predators such as caracal and African Wild Cat. It is also a good park to visit for snakes, especialy in November when the Cape Cobra is very active.
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Unread postby Peter Betts » Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:43 pm

Come to Addo....I have had 16 sightings there this year sofar
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Unread postby Nico » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:58 am

This little film shows you an amazing encounter with a Caracal on the S90 between Olifants and Satara. The Caracal stayed for about an hour with us and when there was a car coming, the Caracal disappeared but came back to us after the car had left. Then he started hunting and disappeared slowly into the grass.A beautiful experience.

[video]http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=HPa2dErrWws[/video]
Last edited by Nico on Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:43 am

Nico, thank you for sharing that. What a sighting 8)
When you see how well they blend into their surroundings, it is not suprising that they are so rarely seen.
I have never seen one in the Park.
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Unread postby Peter Betts » Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:05 pm

One curious Caracal comes right in to have a look

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2009
Punda Maria Sept 27,28
Bateleur Sept 29,30 (free award)
Tamboti Oct 1,2,3,4
Biyamiti Oct 5,6,7,8

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Unread postby Peter Betts » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:22 am

5 seconds and Addo had one less Rednecked Francolin :shock:
Image
2009
Punda Maria Sept 27,28
Bateleur Sept 29,30 (free award)
Tamboti Oct 1,2,3,4
Biyamiti Oct 5,6,7,8

FGASA Local Area Guide

Nikon D700 FX, Nikkor 24-70 G f2.8, Nikkor 70-200VR f2.8, Nikkor 200-400 VR f4, Nikon 1.4 & 1.7 Convertors

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Unread postby Scorpion » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:58 pm

And I thought Cheetahs were fast :shock:

The Caracals speed kill is legendary, you were so lucky to catch it! :clap:
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Unread postby Neil Crawford » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:55 pm

Heres our Caracal. It's from the Kruger park near Satara. It sauntered past parallell to the road. Liz and JP our guide and cook on the bus/truck had never seen one before despite two years doing Kruger trips. Shortly afterwards a rhino ra n past.
Did I mention that we enjoyed ourselves!
/Neil
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2212/217 ... feea_o.jpg
Image

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Unread postby Peter Betts » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:28 pm

Its a sad story of a Caracal suffering so here is one healthy and happy Caracal
Image
2009
Punda Maria Sept 27,28
Bateleur Sept 29,30 (free award)
Tamboti Oct 1,2,3,4
Biyamiti Oct 5,6,7,8

FGASA Local Area Guide

Nikon D700 FX, Nikkor 24-70 G f2.8, Nikkor 70-200VR f2.8, Nikkor 200-400 VR f4, Nikon 1.4 & 1.7 Convertors


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