Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Jaguarundi - Tiny Cougar

The jaguarundi is a wild cat native to South America, coastal Mexico and south Texas. Though closely related to the cougar, the small size and distinct proportions of the jaguarundi have led some to refer to it as the “otter-cat”.
Slightly larger than domestic cats, jaguarundis are 3 to 4 ½ feet long (including tail) and weigh 8-20lbs. They have long, slender bodies with proportionally short legs and small, rounded ears. Unlike most New World cats, jaguarundis do not have spots, but do come in several color morphs ranging from red to grey across their eight subspecies.

Jaguarundis can usually be found in lowland brush areas close to a source of running water. Though they are agile climbers, they are more terrestrial than most cats and spend much of their time on the ground. Both shy and reclusive, jaguarundis can only occasionally be spotted during daylight hours.
Typical of a cat of its size, the jaguarundi’s diet consists primarily of small rodents and reptiles, with larger prey such as rabbits, marmosets and opossums taken when available. Despite their short legs, jaguarundis have been known to jump nearly six feet into the air to swat small birds out of the sky as well!

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