This is a page on caracal facts for kids. There are some great pictures and visitors can use the article if they want to.
The caracal is a fierce and powerful looking species of wild cat. The word “species” means a particular kind of wild cat. The caracal is named after its ears. The word means “black ear” in Turkish.
As you can see from the picture the caracal has black hair sticking out of the top of each ear. These are called “tufts” of hair and “lynx tips”.
People think that caracals can “talk” using their ears. When they move their ears the black hair on the end moves around and other cats can see this clearly. It means something to them. We are not sure what it means but when the hair is flicked it might mean that the cat is annoyed and the other cat should beware.
Another thing that the caracal is famous for is its jumping. This is a very clever cat at catching birds as they try to fly away. The caracal can catch birds this way because they are strong and very quick.
You may have heard of the saying, “to put a cat amongst the pigeons”. It means to cause trouble. Long ago rich Indian people used to use tame caracals to hunt for them. They would be very good at catching pigeons as they all tried to get away at the same time.
As you can see from the map in the picture the caracal lives in Africa and an area nearby which includes countries such as Saudi Arabia and India. This cat does not live across all of these areas. The caracal does not like desert. Across the middle of Africa in the north is the Sahara Desert. The caracal does not live there.
The caracal likes to live in open countryside and grassy areas or dry woodland. It is a medium sized wild cat that weighs between 13 and 44 pounds (13 to 20 kilograms). It is the tenth largest wild cat out of 36 in all. The picture shows a woman, Sarah, carrying a caracal. This helps to show the size of the cat.
The coat, as you can see, is a reddish sandy color. The coat helps to hide the caracal as it is a similar color to the grassland where it lives. This makes hunting animals that it eats (“prey”) easier.
This cat is strong enough and big enough to kill a small antelope to eat. It usually catches and eats animals like rodents (rats), hares and birds. The caracal kills small animals by biting the animal’s neck.
Sometimes they might attack sheep belonging to farmers. Farmers sometimes kill them because of this. This is a problem for the caracal. Another problem is the fact that the places where it lives are being used up by people forcing it to live somewhere else.
People don’t know how many caracals there are in the world or whether the number is getting smaller or bigger. You will see caracals in zoos where they can live to be 16 years old.