The Caracal, or Lynx by Panormo, 1829
The Caracal, or Lynx by W. Panormo, 1829.
The caracal is a medium sized cat, with long ears and a short tail. Though similar looking to the Eurasian lynx, scientists no longer consider it to be a lynx. Instead they believe it is closely related to the golden cat and serval. It has a slender muscular build and is among the heaviest of the small cats, with males weighing twenty-nine to forty pounds and females weighing twenty-four. The caracal measures twenty-six to thirty-five inches long, not including its typically twelve inch tail. Coat colors for the caracal tend to be wine-red, grey, or sand, with black appearing very rarely. Unlike most small cats its eyes contract into circles instead of slits. They prefer to live in dry steppes and semi-deserts and they occupy West Asia, South Asia, and Africa. A solitary animal, they have been known to live in pairs on rare occasions. Their lifespan is about twelve years in the wild and seventeen in captivity. Surprisingly they are easy to tame and are often kept as pets and used as hunting cats in Iran and India.
This print was published by Thomas Kelly in The Wonders of the Animal Kingdom. The caption on it says "In the Gardens of the Zoological Society." The Zoological Society is a charity founded in 1826, and has been an active leader in animal conservation ever since its establishment. Its dedication to the conservation of animals and their habitats has led to the establishment of two zoos, the Institute of Zoology, and several periodicals, such as the Journal of Zoology. The gardens were opened in 1828 to members of the Society and was the first ever scientific zoo. It was founded with the intention of providing a collection of species that scientists could continuously study. In 1847, it was opened to the general public and is known today as the London Zoo, which houses seven hundred fifty-five different species from around the world.
- Naomi Bean