CaracalLeast Concern

Interesting facts about Griffin

  • ‘Caracal’ is derived from the Turkish term ‘karakulak’ which means ‘black ear’.
  • The caracal is also known as the desert lynx.They can be found in woodland, savannah, scrub and arid regions.
  • Caracals were trained to hunt game birds by Indian royalty.
  • Caracals are immensely powerful for their size and can hunt small antelope..Caracals can leap up to three metres in the air to catch birds in flight.

Griffin was born at Exmoor Zoo.

He arrived at WHF,  The Big Cat Sanctuary in June 2014.

A new species for WHF, he has proved to be a fantastic addition to the collection and readily gains  new members to his fan club.

He’s proven star on photographic workshops and wows guests with his very impressive jumping abilities.

Medium sized cat.

The caracal is a cat of medium size and build, belonging to the small cat family. With their closest relatives being the serval, they share the same slight build and long legs yet occupy very different habitats within Africa. The caracal sticks to the much drier, sandy areas of Africa and the Middle East, where its short, red coat helps it to blend in well. Often referred to as the African, or Desert lynx, they have a much lighter frame and body size to the true lynx. A feature they share with the lynx is that of long ear tufts/tassels.

Despite many theories to their true use, it is still unknown exactly what they are used for. Some of these theories include: to assist in camouflage by helping to break up the silhouette of the cats face, being used to keep flies out of the face and assisting in hunting accuracy.

They are the largest of the small cats found in Africa and as such are quite successful in the wild, with a distribution that includes over ¾ of Africa.

The caracal is a solitary animal.

As with the majority of the cat species, the caracal is a solitary animal, only interacting with others for mating purposes. There is no set breeding season so kittens can be born throughout the year following a gestation period of only 2 ½ months. Litter size can be as large as six with the male taking no part in the care of the young. By ten weeks the kittens are fully weaned and typically stay with the female until a year old.

Sexual maturity is reached by 16-18months old. With their breeding and hunting success they are currently becoming seen as a nuisance to farmers with livestock, so in Namibia and South Africa in particular landowners are permitted to legally hunt them without restriction. However hunting within sub-Saharan Africa is forbidden.

IUCN Red List Category Least Concern(LC)