caracal (kărˈəkəl) [key] or Persian lynx, mammal of the family Felidae (cat family), native to Asia and Africa. The caracal, Caracal caracal, is reddish brown with black-tufted ears. Its total length is about 31/4 ft (105 cm). It preys on small deer, hares, birds, and other animals. Active mainly at twilight, it will hunt during the night in hot weather. In some regions it is trained to catch such game for humans. Also known as the African or desert lynx, it is not a true lynx. Caracals are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Felidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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