© Marion Vollborn/Minden Picture
These caracal cubs will grow to become medium-sized wildcats. They roam the savannahs, deserts and forests of much of Africa and parts of the Middle East. Adult caracals are trim and sleek, with long, powerful legs, which allow these skilful hunters to leap more than three metres in the air to catch birds. Also called the desert lynx, caracals are fast and stealthy – they have stiff fur on the pads of their feet so they can stalk silently. Their short coat is a gorgeous gold, but it’s those distinctive face markings and ear tufts that give them character. There’s debate in the wildlife community about the purpose of the tufts. Some believe they enhance the cats’ hearing or help camouflage the caracal; others think tuft twitching is a way to communicate.