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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Jaguarundi

The Jaguarundi is a medium-sized Central and South American wild cat. It has an average length 30 inches (65 cm) with 20 inches (45 cm) of tail. It has short legs and an appearance somewhat like an otter. The ears are short and rounded. The coat is unspotted, uniform in color. It varies from blackish to brownish gray (gray phase) or from foxy red to chestnut (red phase).

Their coats have no markings except for spots at birth. These cats are closely related to puma as evident by their similar genetic structure and chromosome count. In some Spanish speaking countries, jaguarundis are also called “leoncillo”, which means “little lion”.

Their habitat is lowland brush areas close to a source of running water. They occasionally inhabit dense tropical areas as well. They are crepuscular and nocturnal depending on location. These cats are comfortable in trees, but prefer to hunt on the ground. They prey upon fish, small mammals, reptiles and birds.

The litter consists of one to four kittens. They are raised socially after a 70-day pregnancy. The kittens become mature at approximately 2 years of age.

These cats are not particularly sought after for their fur, but they are suffering decline and extinction due to loss of habitat.

Jaguarundi