Caracal

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

Moderator: RosemaryH

User avatar
Wild@Heart
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1372
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:51 am
Location: In a very busy place

Caracal

Unread post by Wild@Heart »

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
User avatar
Owl
Guru
Guru
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:34 am

Caracal

Unread post by Owl »

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.
wildjohn
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Venetia, Limpopo

caracal

Unread post by wildjohn »

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..
naomi c
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2272
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Location: Centurion

Unread post by naomi c »

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.
User avatar
Kevin M
Guru
Guru
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:20 pm
Location: Pretoria

Unread post by Kevin M »

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.
Kevin Moore
Manager: Conservation Interpretation
e-mail: [email protected]
User avatar
Nico
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 904
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 11:48 pm
Location: between a lot of green in Holland

Unread post by Nico »

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.

Last edited by Nico on Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Meandering Mouse
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 32863
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: meandering between senility and menopause

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

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.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.
User avatar
Peter Betts
Posts: 857
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:38 pm
Location: Port Elizabeth

Unread post by Peter Betts »

5 seconds and Addo had one less Rednecked Francolin :shock:

6ldoccx.jpg
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
User avatar
Scorpion
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 151
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:13 am
Location: Paradise....

Unread post by Scorpion »

And I thought Cheetahs were fast :shock:

The Caracals speed kill is legendary, you were so lucky to catch it! :clap:
Enlightenment isn't switching on the light: it's seeing in the dark.
User avatar
Neil Crawford
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:04 am
Location: Sweden

Unread post by Neil Crawford »

Heres our Caracal. It's from the Kruger park near Satara. It sauntered past parallel 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 *** ran past.
Did I mention that we enjoyed ourselves!
/Neil

2171361315_a568fcfeea_o.jpg
2171361315_a568fcfeea_o.jpg (181.87 KiB) Viewed 3125 times
User avatar
Peter Betts
Posts: 857
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:38 pm
Location: Port Elizabeth

Unread post by Peter Betts »

Its a sad story of a Caracal suffering so here is one healthy and happy Caracal

2czd65w.jpg
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
naomi c
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2272
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Location: Centurion

Unread post by naomi c »

A beauty indeed!

After reading through the "Addo Animals" thread I am definitly aware of the fact that Addo is THE place to spot a caracal (and magnificent lions and kudu's too) but with the current fuel price........
o-dog
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 490
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Location: Okavango

Re: Caracal

Unread post by o-dog »

Havent read all the posts but from my experiences WCNP has been the best for me. Saw a female with two large kittens on the 17th Jan 09 near Kraalbaai.
Saw an adult male in Postberg watching bat eared foxes a few weeks back and another nearby.
For the WCNP must have seen well over 20 by now - dont think there is a better place to see them.
Otherwise one at S100 S41 junction and 2 subadults that used to hang around the Augrabies Falls picnic site.
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec
User avatar
SamoesaWoestyn
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:36 pm
Location: Rustenburg

Re: Caracal

Unread post by SamoesaWoestyn »

What an amazing animal!!

This one the Red Rocks road near Shingwedzi.

Image
SamoesaWoestyn

Rare Antelope Sightings!

Returning to Kruger in December 2013!!!
Oryx
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:49 am

Re: Caracal

Unread post by Oryx »

I recently spent 2 nights in Bontebok. On the morning of 9th March about 1 km from the rest camp I saw 4 Caracal together - female with 3 almost fully-grown kittens. Couldn`t believe my eyes, but there they were, and then disappeared into the undergrowth.
Post Reply