- African Caracal
By: Jason Abels – Assistant Director www.tigerhomes.org Animal Sanctuary
Spock was raised together with both of the Sanctuary’s
Tigers, Tundra and Loki. He is one of three African
Caracals in our care (Zaire and Kenya). Caracals are native to Africa,
Asia, and even certain areas of the Middle East like Israel.
Although they are extremely adaptive felines, they typically
inhabit savannah grasslands and low scrub bush covered terrains.
In the wild, they are notorious bird hunters. They are capable
of tremendous acrobatic aerial jumps. They are so good at hunting
birds that some African airports have been know to keep a few
Caracals on the grounds as living scarecrows. The mere sight
of a Caracal is enough to keep birds away. In case some of
you have no clue on why birds are dangerous to airports; it
is because bird impacts can cause engine failures. We go into
great detail on this and other rarely known wildlife subjects
on each of our 3
stated above, Spock our youngest Caracal was raised with
both of our Baby
White Tigers, Tundra and Loki.
Needless to say, we had our hands full raising all three
of these babies at overlapping times. Thank G-d for my
Golden Retriever Cody who helped act as a surrogate for
these orphans. In fact, we have some great home video
footage of Spock wrestling with the White Tiger Cubs
and Cody. I do not have the words to describe observing
a baby White Tiger, Golden Retriever and a baby Caracal
all playing together. All I can say is that if we could
bottle the cuteness, we would make both Hallmark and
Walt Disney extremely jealous. We included a great video
segment of this adorable behavior on “Power
Cats – Locked
Caracals, are in the Lynx family.
Other, more popular members of the lynx family include
the North American
BOB CAT, the Canadian Lynx and the larger Siberian Lynx.
Like the other lynx species, the Caracal possesses the
notorious long “Ear Tuffs” on top of each
ear. These fur tuffs can be as long as 3 inches and actually
have a purpose which helps insure the Caracals survival.
In most cases, everything in nature has a purpose. In
this case, not only do the ear tuffs help direct sound
waves into the animals ears; but they also help reduce
noise created when the animals head disturbs low lying
branches. This allows the Caracal to approach even closer
to its prey when stalking. It is similar in design and
function to an Owls Feather. Owls are almost silent in
flight. The reason for this naturalistic marvel was discovered
after close examination of the owl’s feathers under
a microscope. Under magnification, one can easily observe
that the very edges of the owl’s feathers are split
into tuffs. These, “Split Ends”, help to
silence the flight of the Owl, thus maximizing its probability
of catching prey.
Spock, Zaire and Kenya are beautiful
cats! One day we will of course have to add a few Web
Cams to their habitats.
Until then, David and I are both confident that the remaining
30 + Web Cams located in the Sanctuary’s, Black
Main Lion, White Tiger, Golden Bengal Tiger, Red Ruffed
Lemur, Black and White Ruffed Lemur, and Ringtail Lemur
habitats will not only entertain you, but educated you
as well. As I end this little intro to the Sanctuary’s
resident Caracals, I want to leave you with one more
small bit of “Caracal Trivia”, to keep your
minds pondering. (Caracals, have the claim to fame of
being the “Fastest of all the small cats").
Looking for Information
on Big Cats?
China Tigers Sumatran
Other Great Cats
Leopard Cheetah King
Genetic Diversity Distribution Table