The caracal is a fiercely territorial medium-sized cat ranging over Western Asia, South Asia, and Africa. The word caracal comes from the Turkish word “karakulak”, meaning “black ear”. In North India and Pakistan, the caracal is locally known as syahgosh or shyahgosh, which is a Persian term meaning black ears. Although it has traditionally had the alternative names Persian Lynx, Egyptian Lynx and African Lynx, it is no longer considered to be an actual lynx. Instead, it is now believed to be closely related to the African golden cat and the serval. The caracal is classified as a small cat, yet is amongst the heaviest of all small cats, as well as the quickest, being nearly as fast as the serval.
The caracal is a slender, yet muscular, cat, with long legs and a short tail. Males typically weigh 13 to 18 kilograms (29 to 40 lb), while females weigh about 11 kilograms (24 lb). The caracal resembles a Eurasian Lynx, and for a long time it was considered a close relative of the lynxes. It has a tail nearly a third of its body length, and both sexes look the same. The caracal is 65 to 90 centimetres (26 to 35 in) in length, with a 30 centimetres (12 in) tail. Compared to lynxes, it has longer legs, shorter fur, and a slimmer appearance.