Popular Cape Town caracal Hermes has been spotted yet again. The well-known feline resident was captured showing off his skills on Table Mountain this past weekend.
Lucky local Kris Marx caught this incredible picture of Hermes walking across a narrow pipe over a ravine on Table Mountain.
“Caracals, like all cats, rely on their agility and sense of balance to land on their feet when leaping to catch prey like birds in mid-air. They are also good climbers, regularly scaling rocky outcrops to hunt dassies. This makes it easier for Hermes to walk along this narrow pipe but it is no less impressive!” they explain.
Hermes is a fan favourite in the area, easily distinguishable by his light blue and green ear tags. He has become somewhat of a mascot for the Urban Caracal Project, with a unique backstory of survival.
“We first met him in 2018 when he was hit by a car on Camp’s Bay Drive, in the same spot where at least two other caracals have been hit by cars and died. But Hermes survived, though almost bit his tongue off and it was quickly sewn back on at Tamboerskloof Veterinary Practice!” the Project explains.
While receiving X-rays at the vet, it was discovered that this was not the first car accident Hermes had been in. He had been hit by a car before, which severely broke his hind leg. Although he has since healed, this incident caused his right hind leg to be shorter than his left.
The Project estimates that Hermes is now four years old, which is quite old for an urban caracal. They explain that although the typical lifespan of a caracal in a human-free area is about 10 years, the majority of caracals they find dead are only two-years-old.
“During non-lockdown conditions, we get about one sighting report/week for Hermes, although surely he is seen even more! He is obviously habituated and doesn’t mind being seen, but that doesn’t mean he is a threat. He’s grown up in an area with a lot of humans, so for the average hiker that doesn’t pose any threat, he doesn’t mind letting people admire his beauty,” adds the Project.
The last sighting of Hermes left many residents hopeful when the caracal, often spotted wandering the mountainside alone, was seen enjoying the company of another caracal near Lion’s Head on Sunday, July 19. Spotting caracals around Cape Town is quite a rare occurrence but spotting two at once almost never happens.
If you are lucky enough to capture pictures of urban caracals, please report your sightings online (www.urbancaracal.org/report-sightings-roadkill) and if you have photos, please send them to [email protected]!
Picture: Facebook /Urban Caracal Project / Kris Marx