Caracals Find New Home in Cape Town


| LAST UPDATE 11/17/2021

By Macie Deleon
Caracals Cape Town
Ina Schieferdecker/Solent News/Shutterstock

Meet the regal caracal, pictured below, a medium-sized wild cat. If you've never heard of the creature that is native to Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, you likely aren't alone. But with some caracals moving away from their usual stomping grounds and into human territory, they've recently caught the attention of many.

Wild animals in urban areas
Ina Schieferdecker/Solent News/Shutterstock

A member of the feline family, caracals are not as well-known as their lion or leopard cousins. But the Wildcats know how to hunt just as skillfully. They are typically smaller than their predator counterparts and are renowned for having reddish fur, tufted black ears, and long legs that are powerful enough to rival Usain Bolt's.

Wild animals in city
Ina Schieferdecker/Solent News/Shutterstock

What makes these animals so unique, however, is that they are the only cat that hunts in the daytime and rests at night. Perhaps that is why a pack of South African caracals has swapped the wilderness for the city. Those who have visited Cape Town can likely confirm that the city is one of the most beautiful in the world and that it has a rather laidback vibe. Still, it is certainly a more fast-paced scene than a caracal is normally used to.

Camps Bay Beach, caracals

Residents of the Mother City have become familiar with one red cat in particular called Hermes. The feline is believed to be about four or five years old and is known to frequent the trails around Table Mountain. According to National Geographic sources, the wild animal has become something of a symbol for wildlife conservation in Cape Town.

Table Mountain Caracals
Nardus Engelbrecht/AP/Shutterstock

The Urban Caracal Project was founded in 2014 and has made it its mission to raise awareness of the creatures and how close they have become to city life. After finally being granted a permit by the South African National Parks to study the pack which dwelled on Table Mountain, project founder Lauren Serieys discovered that there are around 60 caracals in the Cape Peninsula.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Lion's Head Caracals
Markus Schreiber/AP/Shutterstock

The cats clearly have a penchant for trendy locales as they have been spotted everywhere from the cosmopolitan Camps Bay Beach to the hiking hotspot Lion's Head. According to Serieys, these caracals have learned how to adapt to humans and their activity. One example is how Hermes and his friends have cleverly mastered how to avoid being seen by people in congested areas.

You can learn more about the animal at the Urban Caracal Project's official website.