Caracal sees her reflection for the first time totally freaks out

Caracal sees her reflection for the first time totally freaks out
Published: 27 April 2015

Laurel Klein Serieys has a soft spot for pointy-eared cats. After completing her PhD studying bobcat ecology in Los Angeles, California, she set off for Cape Town in South Africa to study a different kind of urban wild cat: the caracal.

As part of her Urban Caracal Project, Serieys set up a small mirror in the wilderness, ready for a cat to wander by, and deployed a camera trap nearby to record what happened. Eventually a female caracal did wander by – and was so startled by her reflection that she ran away. In less than a second, the cat became a furry, blurry rocket.

On the project's Facebook page, Serieys explains that she wanted to see whether mirrors could be a useful, humane way to lure a caracal into a trap, where the cats are given a quick assessment and, for some of them, a small radio collar, before being released. "There is video footage of two leopards in a tropical forest reacting very differently to a mirror – investigating for a long period of time with great curiosity, which is how we got the idea… [But] based on this footage, it won't be a technique we will employ," she says.

The same cat was seen nearby later the same day, so Serieys thinks that the mirror wasn't scary enough to drive her away permanently.


Cool video captured! We've been curious what a caracal would do in reaction to its own reflection- so while we had traps closed this past week, we performed an experiment. We believe that this is a female caracal, and that there would be different reactions based on the individual sex and age. So probably not every caracal would react this way and we hope to be able to experiment more in the future with this concept!

Posted by Urban Caracal Project, Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday, April 23, 2015

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