The life cycle of a caracal cat (Caracal caracal) has the following phases:

  • Oestrus: 1 - 6 days
  • Gestation: 68 - 81 days
  • Litter Size: 2 - 3 kittens (max 6)
  • Sub-Adult: 9 - 10 months
  • Adult: 12 - 16 months (both genders)
  • Lifespan: Unknown in the wild - 19 years in captivity
Caracal facts reference: Wild Cats of the World by Luke Hunter (2015) based on the latest scientific research.

Female caracal suckling kittens

Female caracal with young

Caracal Reproduction

Caracal cats reproduce throughout the year with some seasonality in regions with distinct seasons.

Oestrus can last up to a week and gestation (pregnancy) is two to three months.

There are two to three Caracal kittens in a litter and they will stay with the mother until nine to ten months old.

Once independent, young females will start to seek a territory close to the mother but males will disperse widely

Caracal Adults

Both male and female Caracal sub-adults will become sexually mature from a year old and can breed for most of their adult life.

Mortality in the wild is usually due to the killing of adult Caracals by larger carnivores, or of kittens by the smaller carnivores and other predators. On farmlands in southern Africa, Caracals are hunted by landowners as they are perceived to be the cause of livestock losses.

The average lifespan in the wild is estimated at twelve years and Caracals in captivity have been reported living up to nineteen years.

Caracal siblings walking