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What is a caracal cat?

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Quick Answer

A caracal cat is a common desert wild cat, or lynx, typically found in Africa, Asia and India. Of all the small cats in Africa, they are the largest, and the only ones who will prey on mammals larger than themselves. Although they sometimes live in pairs, caracals tend to be nocturnal and non-social except during times of breeding.

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Full Answer

Caracal cats are lean and muscular. They have short, tawny or reddish-colored coats covering their bodies and long black fur covering their ears. Adult males weigh anywhere from 17 to 40 pounds, while females can weigh anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds. Caracal cats' primary environments are dry, desert or savannah regions with little rainfall.

Caracals stalk and hunt a variety of mammals, taking them down by pouncing on the prey and biting their throats. They have been known to store carcasses in trees for later consumption and can survive lengthy periods of time without drinking water, using the bodily fluids of their prey to hydrate themselves. In the wild, they live an average of 12 years, but they have been known to live up to 19 years in captivity. Caracal cats are not difficult to train; in India and Iran, they used to be trained to hunt birds.

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