Monday, January 18, 2010


The Caracal is distributed over Africa and the Middle East. Its chief habitat is dry steppes and semi deserts, but it also inhabits woodlands, savannah, and scrub forest. It dwells either alone or in pairs. The caracal may survive without drinking for a long period — the water demand is satisfied with the body fluids of its prey.
Males typically weigh 13-18 kgs (28-40 lbs), while females weigh about 11 kg (24 lb).The caracal resembles a Eurasian Lynx, and for a long time it was considered a close relative of the lynxes. It has a tail nearly a third of its body length, and both sexes look the same. The caracal is 65-90 cm in length (about 2-3 ft), plus 30 cm tail (about 1 ft). Compared to lynxes, it has longer legs and a slimmer appearance. The color of the fur varies between wine-red, grey, or sand-colored. Melanistic (black) caracals also occur. Young caracals bear reddish spots on the underside; adults do not have markings except for black spots above the eyes. Under parts of chin and body are white, and a narrow black line runs from the corner of the eye to the nose.
The pupils of a caracal's eyes contract to form circles rather than the slits found in most small cats. The most conspicuous feature of the caracal is elongated, tufted black ears, which also explain the origin of its name, karakul, Turkish for "black ear". A juvenile has black on the outside of the ears, which disappears as it becomes an adult. Its ears, which it uses to locate prey, are controlled by 20 different muscles

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