(Latin = Felis caracal, Afrikaans = Rooikat, Tswana = Thwane)
- Numbers: Fairly high
- Weight: 8 – 20 kg (18 – 44 lb.)
- Shoulder height: 40 – 45 cm (16 – 18 in.)
- Pregnancy time: 65 + days
- Cub quantity: Up to 5
The caracal is a medium-sized wild cat that lives in Africa, the Middle East, Persia and the Indian subcontinent. It is highly secretive and difficult to observe. It is territorial, and lives mainly alone or in pairs. It is a rufous-fawn Cat with tufted black ears, creamy underbelly with faded orange spots, and long legs.
Caracals are carnivores and typically prey on small mammals, birds and rodents. A studie in South Africa have reported that it preys on the Cape grysbok, the common duiker, sheep, goats, rats, rock hyraxes, hare and birds. Larger antelopes such as young kudu, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck and springbok may also be targeted. Its speed and agility make it an efficient hunter, able to take down prey two to three times its size.
In most parts of its range the Caracal has no set breeding period and a female may often mate with up to three males. Gestation lasts between two and three months, resulting in a litter of one to six kittens. Breeding takes place throughout the year.
The caracal inhabits forests, savannas, marshy lowlands, semi-deserts and scrub forests. Dry areas with low rainfall and availability of cover are preferred.
Any small caliber rifle is good. The .222 or .223 Remington are excellent choices when hunting these guys. Place your shot just behind the shoulder a bit below the midpoint of the body. This rule counts for all cat species. If you are looking for a great night hunting in the bush, try hunting the caracal.