Caracal

Recently Named Caracal Kittens Go Exploring

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The Oregon Zoo’s two new Caracal kittens are now 6 weeks old, and they have just begun to explore their outdoor habitat in the zoo’s Predators of the Serengeti area. 

Peggy and her kittens will have outdoor access from 10 am to 2 pm daily, weather permitting, but keepers say they will be easy to miss. “They’ve spent a lot of time out of view of visitors so far,” said Beth Foster, the zoo’s lead Caracal Keeper. “The space is still new and unfamiliar to them, so they’ve been hiding a lot, taking things slowly and sticking close to mom.”

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4_Oregon Caracal kittensPhoto Credits:  Michael Durham / Oregon ZooCaracals are elusive animals by nature, and even the full-grown cats can be hard to glimpse, according to Foster. She says the best time for zoo visitors to try their luck is right at 10 am, when they first go outside.

Under the watchful eye of their mom, the kittens ventured outside for the first time last week, toddling through hollow logs, hiding in the tall grass, and chirping for mom whenever they lost sight of her.

“Peggy’s been an excellent and very attentive mother,” Foster said. “When her little ones call, she comes right away to check on them.”

Peggy gave birth to the kittens last month in a behind-the-scenes maternity den. The two siblings have been healthy since day one and continue to grow rapidly. They now weigh about 2 to 3 pounds each and are just a bit bigger than domestic kittens — but with enormous paws and ears.

“They’re in their super-adorable phase,” Foster added.

ZooBorns introduced readers to the kittens, here, in early October.

Oregon Zoo Keepers recently voted to call the pair by the Sanskrit names Nandi (male) and Nisha (female).

Cricket, the kittens’ father, will be on exhibit after 2 pm. Cricket was born at the Lory Park Zoo and Owl Sanctuary in South Africa, and moved to the Oregon Zoo in winter 2011. Peggy came to the zoo in 2009 from a conservation center in Mena, Ark.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which coordinates nationwide breeding programs for many of the species housed by zoos, recommended Cricket and Peggy as a breeding pair because the cats are from the same subspecies.

The zoo’s Caracal habitat, part of the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit, was built with substantial support from community members and organizations like Portland General Electric. The Caracals have access to a heated den and a spacious landscape dotted with trees, shrubs, heated rocks and grassy knolls.

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Oregon Zoo Introduces Newest Caracal Kittens

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Peggy, a Caracal living in the Oregon Zoo's Predators of the Serengeti area, gave birth to two kittens on September 11, and the Zoo recently shared their first video of the male and female siblings.

Adult Caracals are known for their huge black-tufted ears, which help them locate prey, but like all cats, they are born with eyes closed and ears folded down. At their two-week checkup, the female kitten's ears had already popped up, but the male's were still flat against his head.

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4_CaracalKittensOregonPhoto Credits: Shervin Hess / Oregon ZooAccording to keepers, Peggy and her babies are doing well, with both kittens nursing regularly and starting to move around their behind-the-scenes den box.

"Peggy has been a terrific mom," said senior Africa keeper Laura Weiner. "She's very protective. We put a bunch of straw in her den box as bedding, and she's been covering the little ones up with it, hiding them. Wild cats of all species hide their kittens like that to protect them from predators."

While Peggy and the kittens will be behind the scenes for a while, zoo visitors can still see the kittens' father, Cricket. Cricket was born at the Lory Park Zoo and Owl Sanctuary in South Africa, and moved to the Oregon Zoo in winter 2011. Peggy came to the zoo in 2009 from a conservation center in Mena, Ark.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which coordinates nationwide breeding programs for many of the species housed by zoos, recommended Cricket and Peggy as a breeding pair because the cats are from the same subspecies.

The Oregon Zoo's Caracal habitat, part of the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit, was built with substantial support from community members and organizations like Portland General Electric. The Caracals have access to a heated den and a spacious landscape dotted with trees, shrubs, heated rocks and grassy knolls, all of which are enriching for the feline residents.

The Caracal (Caracal caracal) is a medium-sized wild cat that is around 3.3 feet (one meter) long. It is sometimes called the desert lynx or African lynx, but it is not a member of the Lynx genus. The Caracal is native to Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, and Southwest Asia. 

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Sleepy Caracal Kitten Naps with Mom at Exmoor Zoo

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The dog days of summer may be coming to a close, but the cat days seem to be just starting: Exmoor Zoo in England welcomed a Caracal kitten in mid-August, and it is a joy to see the mother completely devoted to caring for her new baby. Mom and kitten were spotted taking a lunchtime bath and snooze together about a week ago on August 24. The kitten is pictured at just one week old. The little one still has eyes closed and gets carried around everywhere by mom. Caracal kittens will open their eyes between four and ten days old, and nurse until they are weaned at about ten weeks.

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See more nap-time photos after the fold!

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Oregon Zoo's Caracal Kittens, Now Five Weeks Old

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My how you've grown! Oregon Zoo's three Caracal kittens, first introduced HERE, are now 5 weeks old, and their tufted ears – a distinguishing feature of the small African cats – are fully upright. At birth, the kittens’ ears were flat against their heads. The male and two females continue to do well, as does their mother, Peggy.
 
“The kittens are very healthy and growing quickly,” said senior Africa keeper Asaba Mukobi. “In the past week, the male has put on about half a pound, and his sisters gained almost as much. Peggy is doing a great job of making sure they eat enough.”
 
The kittens are very active and enjoy playing on a series of climbing logs, which keepers recently placed in the behind-the-scenes area where Peggy and the kittens spend their time. The zoo’s Africa keepers are voting on possible names for the kittens.

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Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo

 

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Oregon Zoo's Caracal Kittens Turn 2 Weeks Old!

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The Oregon Zoo's Caracal triplets born June 8th are ready for their close-ups! These photos, taken just yesterday, show the cubs at precisely two weeks of age. Caracals live in the woodlands and savannas of North Africa, Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. While caracals are listed in the category of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, hunting and habitat loss pose risks to wild populations. 

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Photo credits: Michael Durham / Oregon Zoo


Three Healthy Caracal Kittens are Born at Oregon Zoo

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Oregon Zoo Caracal Peggy gave birth to three healthy kittens, two females and one male, on June 8. According to keepers, the first-time mother and her babies are doing well, with all three kittens nursing regularly and starting to move around their behind-the-scenes nesting box.
 
“We are very proud of Peggy,” said senior Africa keeper Asaba Mukobi. “It’s really amazing to see her do everything she possibly can to care for her kittens. She’s very protective, makes sure everyone is nursing, and sets boundaries for the kittens now that they’re moving around.”

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Photo and video credits: Oregon Zoo

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