Wild Fact #862 – Beware the Black Ear! – Caracal

I had so much fun yesterday writing about an animal that looks like a cat, which is named after a cat but is not a cat that I thought it would great to actually write about a cat! No, the Caracal isn’t your friendly, fluffy, neighbourhood cat but it is pretty interesting nonetheless.  Why don’t you hop on the Wild Facts Train and find out more about this medium-sized cat from Africa and the Middle-East.

Please ensure that your seats and tray tables are locked in the upright position because here we go.  Wait! I don’t think you have to worry about your seats and trays on a train, do you??  Oh well, moving on! The caracal has often been compared to the Eurasian Lynx and at one time was thought to be a close member to the lynxes. This is not the case as the caracal is more closely related to the serval (keep your eyes peeled for a Wild Fact on the Serval in the coming days).

Have you ever wondered where people come up with these weird names for animals? Who thought of the name “Caracal”?  Apparently, the term “Caracal” is turkish for black ear! Pretty original, eh?  If you are observant you may say to yourself that their ears are not that black so why are they named after it.  Then I will tell you that the young caracal cats ears are black on the outside but this colour disappears as they become adults.  Imagine what those awkward teenage years are like for the young caracal’s.  One black ear and one normal coloured ear!  The other cats laughing and pushing at poor Carl the Caracal just because he matured faster than the others.  Awww, that poor cat! Oh, before I forget I wanted to mention that the ears of the caracal are actually controlled by 20 different muscles. If I remember my human anatomy correctly, the human ear only has 2 muscles.  These ear muscles are significant for the caracal since it relies heavily on hearing to capture its prey.

For the record, they will prey on rodents, gazelles, antelopes and birds.  In my opinion the caracal is like most house cats that I am familiar with.  They are fussy and spoiled.  In fact, the caracal is such a fussy eater that it will actually use its claws to peel off the fur of the larger prey species.  The fur bothers them but apparently feathers are fine for them to eat.  I guess I am just a dog person since I have never understood cats.

This is the last stop for the Wild Facts Train.  I will be sure to pick you up the same time tomorrow.  Maybe we should just start car pooling?

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