Wild Cats Pt4: Jaguarundi

On July 5, 2014 by Tim Newman

Jaguarundi - Wild Cat - South America

Welcome to part 4 of this short collection of articles about some of the world’s stranger and lesser known wildcat species. This time we take a glance at the jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi), a fairly odd looking cat by all accounts. They’re members of the Puma family along with cougars.

Jaguarundi - Wild Cat - face

The jaguarundi, or eyra cat, lives in Central and South America from southern Texas to northern Argentina. They thrive in areas with dense ground vegetation. There’s also a non-native, feral population in Florida, probably escaped pets.

The jaguarundi is between 53 and 77 cm in length and has particularly short legs with a long body and tail; they’re kind of weasel-shaped with an otter-like tail. This picture really shows off their length, albeit a little blurred:

Jaguarundi - Long Body

They come in two flavours: red or grey.

Jaguarundi - Wild Cat - Central America

Unlike many cats, the jaguarundi is more lively during daylight hours. They’re confident in the trees but prefer to hunt on the ground, picking up any animal they can catch, pretty much. They’ll have a go at mice, rats, armadillos and have even been seen snacking on fish caught in shallow puddles. They’re partial to the occasional insect and reptile too.

Jaguarundi - Wild Cat - weasel like

Jaguarundi have a pretty diverse repertoire of vocalisations, 13 distinct calls in all. Here’s an audio clip of some youngsters fighting to give you an idea:



So far these funny looking cats aren’t endangered but thanks to their luscious fur and dwindling habitat they seem to be on a slow decline. Native Central Americans were known to keep them as pets as they make very effective controllers of rodent population. People aren’t encouraged to take them on as pets nowadays though…

Jaguarundi - Captive Jaguarundi - Captive Poland Zoo




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