The cat you see in this picture is called the caracal, or desert lynx. Their name, caracal, comes from the tufted black ears – it is derived from the Turkish word “karakulak” that means “black ear.” Despite being known as the desert lynx, the caracal is not related to the lynx, and they don’t have the same physical attributes, like the ruff of hair seen around the face of a lynx.
The cats are native to Central Asia, Southwest Asia, India, and Africa. According to Big Cat Rescue, they were once trained to hunt birds in Iran and India.
You may find yourself wondering why they have those long tufts in the first place. You are in good company! Scientists have wondered that too!
Some scientists think that the tufts are used to help keep flies out of their faces and that they can help camouflage the cats.
But most think that the tufts are used for communication! The tuft on the tips of their ears can grow to be 1.75 inches long!