Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/The Caracal

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CARACAL, The (Felis caracal}, belongs to a group of

Lynxes characterized by comparative slenderness of body and length of tail and ears. It is somewhat larger than a fox, of a uniform reddish brown colour above, and whitish beneath, with two white spots above each of the eyes, and with a long black tuft of hair at the tip of the ears, the latter, according to Sir W. Jardine, being only present in spring, or at the commencement of the breeding season. It is to the ear-tufts that it owes its name, which is derived from two Turkish words signifying “black-ear.” The caracal is widely distributed, being found throughout Africa and South-western Asia. It feeds on the smaller quadrupeds and birds, hunting the former in packs after the manner of wolves, and climbing trees in pursuit of the latter. It is said also to resemble the jackal in following in the wake of the lion and other large carnivora, in order to feed on what those lords of the lower creation may leave, and on this account has received the name of the " lion s provider." Like the cheetah, it was formerly trained by Eastern princes to hunt the smaller quadrupeds, and such birds as the crane and pelican ; but from its fierceness, and the extreme irritability which it displays in confine ment, it does not seem well-fitted for domestication. Frequent reference is made in Greek and Roman literature to the lynx, and from such descriptions as are given of it there is little doubt that the caracal, and not the more northerly species now known as the lynx, was referred to. In South Africa, where the caracal abounds, its hide is made

by the Kaffres into skin cloaks, known as karosses.