Caracal kittens FTW

August 10, 2012 • 1:19 pm

It’s been fourteen months since we featured caracals (Caracal caracal), a mid-sized cat that ranges from sub-Saharan Africa through the Middle East into India.  They’re famous for their huge, tufted ears and especially their leaping ability: they can jump ten feet into the air to take down birds on the wing. The video below shows that remarkable behavior. But today’s excuse is that 1. it’s Friday, and 2. a reader (whose name I can’t remember; apologies) sent me this picture of three caracal kittens.

And now the Big Leaps (I have posted this video before). Be sure to watch the whole video as it briefly goes dark at 2:00:

Wikipedia notes:

The caracal has been hybridised with the domestic cat at the Moscow Zoo. A domestic cat Caracal hybrid has been bred as an exotic cat, currently there are over 300.[16]

And I can’t help but provide reference 16; I read German but it’s still funny:

16.Kusminych, I, and Pawlowa, A (1998). “Ein Bastard von Karakal Hauskatze im Moskauer Zoo”. Der Zoologische Garten 68 (4).

Sadly, I can’t find a photo of the bastard.

16 thoughts on “Caracal kittens FTW

    1. Wonderful kitten photo, and the video is fantastic. We managed to video a serval cat on the Serengeti pouncing on a rodent hole. Full-on leg-twitching concentration then huge pounce and reach down the hole—it was fun to see.

      By the way, when do you call wild feline young “kittens” and when do you call them “cubs”? Our friends at Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador program call the cheetah babies “cubs.” (By the way, there is a new baby cheetah called Savannah at the Cincinnati Zoo that is just amazingly cute.)

  1. They can become very tame, like this one in a sanctuary for rescued animals near Knysna in South Africa.

  2. “Sadly, I can’t find a photo of the bastard.”

    I wonder if “bastard” and “basting” and “tardy” are etymologically related.

  3. Those Caracals are amazing, but reading about some “Caracat” hybrids makes me really hate breeders. For example, “I almost purchased a Chausie several years ago, but I was dismayed to find out that Chausies, Savannahs, and Bengals are hybrids whose mothers are any housecat who will tolerate the breeding procedure. Most of these hybrids look like enormous housecats, usually with tabby stripes. I was looking for an enormous cat with an even-toned coat like a mountain lion or a cougar.” That bothers me. Also, “Because the gestation period of the Caracal is 73 days and the gestation period of the Abyssinian is 63 days, it is inevitable that the babies will be born premature, and the mortality rate of the kittens is high.” Then maybe don’t do it anymore. And finally, “First generation (F1) Caracats do not make the best house pets. They hiss at every moving object…” Again, maybe not a good idea to breed these things because you like how they look.

    All quotes come from

  4. Hi Dr Coyne

    I thought you might be interested in this short radio programme about a discourse between a Grandmother from Brisbane and her “young earth” believing grandchildren, one of whom has a Bachelor of Science degree. In it she carries on a year long email exchange with them and their replies are a both a refreshing example of her compassion and an indictment of the brainwashing that some so called schools perpetrate in the name of education.

    Listen to Ockhams Razor on ABC radio at

    Cheers Ian

    1. The caracal is cool, but I also like the whydah who appears in the second part of the video. Talk about runaway sexual selection — the poor dude can barely fly.

  5. I had never heard of these before.

    I went to show this video to my granddaughter (just out of 2nd grade). She read the title and immediately began to explain to me how they jumped, how they hunted, about their tufted ears and good night vision. She apparently learned this from a TV show.

    All is not lost.

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