Jaguarundi, Puma jaguarundi
The jaguarundi is more similar in appearance to a member of the mustelidae family than the felidae family; hence it sometimes being referred to as “otter cat”. Compared to other cat species, the jaguarundi has shorter legs, a longer body and tail, and a smaller head with rounded ears. It is a solid-colored cat, with three colors described: orange-reddish, grayish-brown or blackish with a lighter underbelly. There are no marks on its tail or ears. The color variations can be found within the same litter. The jaguarundi can be 1.5 to 2.5 ft (50 to 77 cm) long and weigh 10 to 20 lbs (4.5 to 9 kg).
Jaguarundis do well in a variety of habitats ranging from dry scrub and swamp to woodlands and forest. Unlike other small South American cats, they are not disturbed by open areas.
The jaguarundi occurs from Mexico all the way to southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and south through central Argentina.
The diet consists of small mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and arthropods.
There is anecdotal evidance that the jaquarundi is more social then other small cat species and they do seem more tolerant when kept together in captivity. The female gives birth to between one and four young after agestation period of 70 to 75 days.Young leave the den after about 28 days, reaching sexual maturity at around two to three years, and living for up to 15 years.
They are mainly terrestrial, although they climb well and are willing swimmers. They are the most diurnal and terrestrial hunter of the small cats with movement between 4:00 and 18:00, hunting peaks around 11:00. There have been no scientific studies to verify these assertions.
Threats to Survival:
Based on estimates of density and geographic range the total effective population size is estimated as greater than 50,000 mature breeding individuals; however, this trend is declining due to habitat degradation and loss of prey. Compared to other small American cats, human hunting pressure is low.
The jaguarundis found east of the Andes are listed on CITES Appendix II while the cats of Central and North America west of the Andes are listed on CITES Appendix I. The IUCN lists them as Least Concern. Hunting is prohibited in almost all countries of its range.
In North America, there are a few private facilities which house them. Currently no AZA zoo exhibits them, although the current Regional Collection Plan calls for phasing them in. Europe, South and Central America all exhibit and breed jaguarundi.
Ann Konopik, Audubon Institute