All around the world people have different types of pets from a simple dog or cat to exotic ones like snakes and reptiles. Some have even adopted wild animals to become pets. One of these wild animals includes the caracal.
The name caracal comes from the Turkish word ‘karakalak’ which means ‘a black ear.’ It is a medium-sized animal native to the deserts and savannahs of Africa, Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Caspian Sea coast.
The caracal is a carnivore which normally hunts small mammals. Its average lifespan when in captivity is 16 years.
Historically caracals had importance in many cultures around the world. In Egypt paintings of caracals and bronze sculptures have been found and also embalmed carcasses as well.
This means that they were of great importance to the Egyptians. In China, emperors gave caracals as gifts. In India, caracals were used by rulers to hunt small game and also their coats were used to in making fur coats.
This also shows that domestication of caracals is not something new but rather started centuries ago.
When you decide to adopt a caracal as a pet there a few things you should consider.
These include how to choose the right kitten, how to care for the animal, what behavior to expect, reproduction and also the threats against the animal.
Choosing a Kitten
Caracal pet kittens can either be raised in open-air cages or domestic nurseries. It is advised that you choose a kitten from the latter. Kittens from open-air cages maybe too wild and dangerous to keep as pets.
To be tamed a caracal kitten should be in constant human contact from a very young age. At the age of 6 months, the kittens can be confidently adopted.
Fortunately, caracal pets adapt quickly and easily to new environments so the change should be easy. Caracal pets are friendly animals and should bond well with children and other pets.
Handling and Care
When caring for a caracal pet there a few things you should consider. Like their food, exercise, and health.
As stated earlier caracals are carnivores that hunt mostly small animals, so basically they should be fed mostly raw meat. They can also be fed with high-quality dry cat food.
A caracal pet should be fed one to two times a day at the same time so as to create a routine. The amount of food depends on the season and the size of the animal.
An adult caracal should consume approximately an average of 4% of its body weight. The caracal pet may eat more during a growth period.
When it comes to seasons, the caracal pets may eat less during the summer when it’s hot and more during the winter when it’s cold. Leftover food should be collected and kept away.
Also, it is not unusual for it to go a day without eating, this may happen on different occasions.
When it comes to exercise a caracal pet should walk on a leash. It is also recommended that it stays in an open-air cage with the small minimum size of 15 square meters and a height of 2.5m.
The height is necessary because caracals are jumpers and will jump short fences. They like to play with toys like a ball and run around like other pets.
Health wise a sick caracal should under regular observation. Also, take it to a vet like any other pet.
Caracals in nature are solitary animals. When domesticated are playful animals and are friendly around both people and other animals. They undergo training so on going to the toilet in a litter box like other cats.
They also play around with toys, but it is important to choose the right toys and not ones that can be harmful to the animal. Caracal pets are curious creatures and will find a toy if you hide it from them.
Wild caracals can be dangerous and unpredictable. They can be harmful to your children and other animals. So as stated earlier, always ensure that you adopt one from a nursery, one that has gone through taming.
Reproduction and Offspring
Caracals become mature after one year. In the successful wild mating can take up to 15 months and breeding will take place throughout the year.
They have a gestation period of about 78 to 81 days and can produce a litter of up to 4 kittens. They are born with eyes shut and claws not retractable.
The kittens completely open their eyes 6 to 10 days after they are born. Their weaning is at 10 weeks and may remain with the mother for up to a year.
Threats Caracal Pet
In some countries, the caracal is killed for livestock predation while in others they are killed for their skin and meat.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has categorized the animal as Least Concern.
This categorization has not stopped some countries from prohibiting the hunting of these animals. Despite this, caracals should not be killed but protected as all living things should.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that a caracal can be domesticated and kept as a pet. The care it requires is not much different as compared to other pets.
Like all pets, they need your time and attention. So if you want to get on as a pet follow the above recommendations and everything will be great.