Communication and Perception
A thorough study of communication in caracals has never been carried out. Most of information comes from individuals kept in captivity. Like other felids, caracals have well-developed senses of hearing and sight. Although servals are noted for their incredible hearing, caracals can also detect small prey by sound alone. Once prey are detected, keen eyesight is used to narrow in on the target. The exact function of the ear tufts on C. caracal is unknown. However, some zookeepers speculate that they may be used in intraspecies communication. If this were the case, this social communication would be limited by the solitary nature of the animal. In captivity, caracals are known for their grating vocalizations. These cats communicate with a series of growls, spits, hisses and meows. Tactile communication, such as sparring and huddling, has been observed during mating periods. A potential mate is attracted by olfactory cues. Hormonal changes in the female result in a change in urine composition. When the female is ready to mate, she deposits her scent in various locations to attract males. Males may then perceive the scent through the vomeronasal organ.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: scent marks
Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic
- Winger, J. 2005. "Smithsonian Zoogoer" (On-line). At the Zoo: Caracals, A Black-Eared Mystery. Accessed April 16, 2009 at http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/2005/6/caracals.cfm.