Found: Africa and Middle East
Size: 4 feet
Weight: 25 to 40 pounds
Diet: antelope, hares, rodents, birds
Life Span: 18 to 20 years
The word "caracal" is from a Turkish word
which means “black-eared.” Its ears are the most striking characteristic. They are very large and pointed and topped with very distinct tufts of hair of which there are many theories. Some believe the tufts keep the flies out. Some believe they help the caracal to camouflage in tall grass and others believe caracals use the tufts as a form of communication with other caracals. Although they are excellent runners, caracals use the stalk and strike hunting technique and are excellent climbers. They have amazing jumping abilities (up to 10 feet) and can even bat down a bird in flight. In India and Persia (now known as Iran), they were used to hunt birds for sport.
Owners would have contests to see how many pigeons their cat could bring down in
a single try, often reaching 10 or more pigeons!