Are caracals dangerous?

Are caracals dangerous? The answer depends on many factors. Firstly, it is quite obvious that the caracal, as a medium-sized wild cat species, has the armoury in terms of physicality, claws, teeth and potential for aggression, to hurt a person. It is, therefore, a question of circumstance as to whether this cat does or does not hurt a person.


Caracal’s paw
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Normally caracals steer clear of people if you are in that rare situation where you might encounter one in the wild (probably Africa). But if the animal is cornered for whatever reason and feels provoked into attacking a person and does so then that cat must be considered dangerous at that moment.

Pet caracal with domestic cat friend. Photo: Andrey Bondarev/Caters 

The caracal is much larger than a domestic cat. Depending upon the region and the sex of the animal, they can weigh up to about 20 kg (44 pounds). This species of wild cat is known to have perhaps the highest leap of all wild cat species certainly in relationship to their size and therefore is a very powerful animal.

Hissing caracal at vets

Common sense dictates that this cat can hurt somebody. The truth of the matter is that the humble domestic cat can also be dangerous to people when in an agitated and aggressive state, provoked into attack. You haven’t got to go far to see videos of people being attacked by domestic feral cats and suffering quite nasty injuries.

So the answer to the question in the title to this article is a qualified yes, depending upon a range of circumstances but the potential is always there.

People ask whether caracals make good pets and indeed I wrote an article today about a pet caracal. These cats are probably quite safe in their interactions with their human owners. Their aggression is suppressed by their domestication or partial domestication. But I wouldn’t want to agitate or provoke a pet caracal or mishandle one. The picture on this page of their claws tells a tale.

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