We’re excited to bring you the story of Griffin the caracal as our cat of the month story, and the next in our video series Meet the Cats!
Griffin was born on 31st August 2013 at Exmoor Zoo, Devon, and moved to The Big Cat Sanctuary at 10 months old in June 2014. Griffin is a sweet and reserved cat, who is known for his inquisitive yet cautious nature. He is incredibly intelligent and a very energetic cat, giving our keeping team the opportunity to come up with new and ingenious ways to challenge him to work for his enrichment feeds. Whether this is by encouraging him to forage, jump, or hunt his habitat for his food, all of these activities are fantastic for keeping our boy physically and mentally stimulated.
Griffin stands as an ambassador for his unique species – the Caracal, or Caracal caracal in Latin. The Caracal is one of the largest small wild cat species found on the African continent, found in the drier savannah regions of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as some parts of the Middle East and India. With tawny/orange fur and hints of black across their body, they have some distinctive features such as their long black fur tufts on the top of their ears. This is a characteristic that Caracals share with another wild cat, the Lynx, and the word “Caracal” is, in fact, Turkish, translating as “black-eared”. Like a lot of wild cats in the same ecosystem, such as Servals and Sand cats, Caracals enjoy a diet of insects, rodents and birds in the wild, as well as being known to take down larger prey. They are agile hunters, equipped with incredible jumping and climbing skills.
The Caracal is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, however, not much is known about the species and therefore it is difficult to give an estimate to the number remaining in the wild today. The Caracal still occupies much of its historical range, however, loss of habitat and human-wildlife conflict have huge impacts on the species, particularly in communities that are dependent on livestock. They have a life span of around 12 years in the wild but can live up to around the late teens / the early twenties in captivity.
Closer to home, Griffin enjoys a varied diet of chicken, rat, and quail, similar to that he would find if hunting in the wild. Griffin is loved by guests and keepers alike; with his striking features, he is a particular favourite on our Photography Experiences and isn’t shy to be in front of the camera.
If this isn’t enough Griffin for you, You can watch his Meet the Cats episode by clicking the video below! You can also adopt our stunning boy for £75 for a year – this includes a beautifully presented adoption pack with a personalised certificate, and the opportunity to visit the Sanctuary within the year of your adoption. Find out more by clicking here.