Yes, caracals eat cat and this series of photographs by Simon Smith shows us the determined way that a caracal hunts an African wildcat in a tree. The African wildcat is more capable than a domestic cat but had little chance of escaping a caracal. The caracal climbs the tree and the African wild cat jumps off from a height of about 10 m which indicates how desperate the cat was. The caracal still caught the African wildcat on the ground and ate it.
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The photographs were taken in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which is a large wildlife preserve and conservation area in southern Africa. It straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana.
The caracal is a medium-sized super-athletic wildcat with, in my view, the best vertical jump at all cats on the planet. They have a habit of catching birds in flight as they take off. The African wildcat is no match. The mammalian prey of the caracal includes anything from mice to hares and antelope. But in general, they mainly feed on prey that weighs less than 5 kg but take larger prey if the opportunity arises. They can kill sheep and goats and in some parts of their distribution they are regarded as a problem animal because they kill domestic stock.
The African wildcat that you see in the photograph is very similar to the one that was domesticated almost 10,000 years ago. What you are seeing in that photograph is the ancestor of the domestic cat although specifically it is the North African wildcat that is said to have been domesticated in the mainland off the east coast of the Mediterranean, particularly Syria which is the area of the Fertile Crescent. This was the land of farmers in those ancient times where grain attracted mice and mice attracted wildcats which became semi-socialised to farmers. That’s the story of cat domestication until something better comes up.
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