Caracal, Felis Caracal, African Linx, Persian Lynx... a fiercely territorial medium-sized cat that are common in the Kalahari where we live.
Although labeled as a small cat, it is among the heaviest of all small cats, as well as the fastest.
The Caracal resembles a Eurasian Lynx and for a long time it was considered a close relative of the lynxes. Recent DNA research, however, has shown that the Caracal is not a close relative of lynxes at all, but is instead related to the Serval and the African Golden Cat.
For farmers in Southern Africa, the Caracal is known as one of the most serious pests of sheep and goats. Their long back legs give them great jumping powers and they are able to snatch flying birds from the air (as can be seen by this great video below).
They are described as...
"The superstar of the animal world. This carnivore is perfect."
"This is the most enthusiastic jumper of all the cats"
(Amanda Barrett about the caracal)
"The ultimate stealth hunter."
"The caracal is a champion in bird catch."
(Tim Green about the caracal)
"In terms of stealth, agility and sharpened senses, it's one of the most efficient cats in the world."
(Rob Harrison-White about the caracal)
'Uitspan' is an Afrikaans word that means place of rest.
When the Boer settlers moved inland in Southern Africa in the 1800's, they used ox carts. When they found a spot with game, water and green grass, they arranged their ox carts into a circular laager for protection against wild animals and stopped for a rest.
They referred to such an action of relaxation for man and beast, as Uitspan.
(Picture above of our ancestors.)
Did you know?
Greater Southern Kudus are famous for their ability to jump high fences. A 2 m (6.56 ft) fence is easily jumped while a 3 m (9.84 ft) high fence is jumped spontaneously. These strong jumpers are known to jump up to 3.5 m (11.48 ft) under stress.
Did you know?Some animals have one sense more than man!The flehmen response is a particular type of curling of the upper lip in ungulates, felids and many other mammals. This action facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ, also called the Jacobson's Organ.
This behavior allows animals to detect scents (for example from urine) of other members of their species or clues to the presence of prey. Flehming allows the animals to determine several factors, including the presence or absence of estrus, the physiological state of the animal, and how long ago the animal passed by. This particular response is recognizable in males when smelling the urine of a females in heat.