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Small Cats

Caracal Lynx

Little Rock Zoo welcomed caracal kittens, Blue and Bayuda in July 2016. Blue and Bayuda are perfect replicas of their parents – mother, Binti and father, Bob. The cats are stunning with golden brown fur, fierce feline eyes accented by black markings and sharply pointed ears regally tufted with black fur.

  • It is believed that caracals were significant in Ancient Egyptian religion. They have been found embalmed and wall paintings of them exist.
  • In the past they were used for hunting and blood sports. One of these was to release a caracal in a flock of pigeons and bets were then placed on how many it could catch.
  • The name caracal comes from the Turkish words for ‘black ear’-kara kulak. They are known as the rooikat in Afrikaans which means red cat.

Unfortunately, most of the Asian caracal populations are dropping rapidly, and new ways need to be found for humans to live with this stealthy cat. Please join our efforts to secure a future for this species by donating to our conservation fund.

Ocelot

Little Rock Zoo is home to a pair of Ocelots; Dakota and Timber. Both Dakota and Timber are over 18 years old. The average lifespan of Ocelots in zoos is 20 years.  They are both under careful supervision of our veterinarian and caretakers. Please don’t be alarmed to see them often always sleeping as they are like really old grandparents, naps are of the highest importance.

  • The ocelot or dwarf leopard is found in every South American country apart from Chile and as far north as Mexico and Texas.
  • They are most active at dusk and sleep a lot during the day. Much like your cat at home!
  • The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped them and often depicted the ocelots in their art.

Because the ocelot is such a gorgeous animal, many people have hunted it for its skin. The skin is usually made into a fur coat, and it can take as many as 25 ocelots to make one coat. People used to pay more for an ocelot coat than they did for a car! We feel that ocelots look better wearing their fur coat than people do. Luckily, it became illegal to bring ocelots or their skins into the US and other countries in 1972. When you see an ocelot, you may wish that you had one, but wild cats do not make good pets. Some pet ocelots in Florida escaped—or were released when people realized that they are not nice or cuddly—and now live in a small, wild colony. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has a Species Survival Plan for ocelots. Please join our efforts to secure a future for this species by donating to our conservation fund.

SOME ENDANGERED

Serval

Little Rock Zoo is home to a pair of Servals; Stich and Crash.  

  • Super sleek: African servals are small, slender cats with long legs, a lean body, a short tail, and a small head. Their extra-long neck and legs give them the nickname "giraffe cat." Servals have a coat that is tawny with both black lines and spots, while their belly is a soft white.
  • Serval's ears serve as radars which easily recognize sound produced by moving animal (even when they are moving in the underground tunnels). Along with other senses, ears help them find the prey quickly.
  • The serval has the longest legs and largest ears for its body size of any cat.

Some people think it would be fun to own a wild or exotic cat. This has led to a serval hybrid called the "savanna cat," a captive-raised serval bred with a domestic cat. Wild animals, even those born in zoos, keep their wild instincts for hundreds, even thousands, of years, so these cats do NOT make good pets. Special permits are required for trained experts or zoos to own or house wild servals, and it is against the law in some states to own savanna cats.

Servals are important to their human neighbors because they catch rodents, which carry diseases and contaminate food supplies. With fewer than 300 servals in zoos around the world and less than 150 in US zoos, getting to know this beautiful feline is a special treat for any animal lover!

Please join our efforts to secure a future for this species by donating to our conservation fund.

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