The margay (Leopardus wiedii, or Felis wiedii) is a spotted cat native to Central and South America. It is a solitary nocturnal animal that prefers remote sections of the rainforest. Although it was once believed to be vulnerable to extinction, the IUCN now lists it as “Least Concern”. It roams the rainforests from Mexico to Argentina.
The margay is very similar to the Ocelot, although the head is a bit shorter. The tail is longer, and the spotted pattern on the tail is different. Most notably the margay is a much more skillful climber than its relative, and it is called the tree ocelot because of this skill. Whereas the Ocelot mostly pursues prey on the ground, the margay may spend its entire life in the trees. They leap and chase birds and monkeys through the treetops. Indeed, it is one of only two cat species with the ankle flexibility necessary to climb head first down trees (the other being the clouded leopard). They can grasp branches equally well with their fore and hind paws. They are able to jump considerable distances. Margays have been observed to hang from branches with only one foot.