The caracal cat is also known as the African Lynx. It is most closely related to the serval and the golden cat. Its name is believed to come from the Turkish word Karakulak, which means “black ears.” Caracals have about 20 muscles in their ears, which helps them to find prey such as rodents, birds, and smaller antelope and gazelle.
The caracal is very athletic-fast enough to run down and kill an ostrich, and acrobatic enough to catch and kill flying birds right out of the air. They don’t seem to mind eating feathers, but use their claws to shear off fur!
Caracals in the wild live about 12 years; in captivity they can live up to 17 years. In the wild they prefer the savannas and deserts of Africa and Southeast Asia. Typically they are solitary in the wild, although mothers with kittens (1-4) will hunt together for about a year.
Caracals are very vocal, and have a vocabulary of hisses, growls, yowls and purrs. The two caracals at Safari West are Nico, a male who is almost three, and Aziza, a four year old female.