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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Carnivora · Felidae · Leopardus wiedii

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Leopardus wiedii


Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae

Image of Leopardus wiedii
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Conservation Status: Near Threatened. Loss of forest habitats to agriculture and pasture are a threat to this species.

Margays are small spotted cats that closely resemble ocelots, but are about half the size and lack the ocelot's two prominent black cheek stripes. Margays are forest-dwellers and good climbers and jumpers, so agile that captives have been seen running along a clothesline, jumping 4 m horizontally and as high as 2.5 m vertically, and hanging by their hind feet to manipulate objects with their front paws. They probably often hunt in trees in the wild, for monkeys, sloths, opossums, squirrels, and other small mammals. They probably also prey on birds. They are known to go after poultry and some reptiles and amphibians, and may occasionally eat fruits and vegetables. It is unclear if there ever was a viable Margay population in the United States, where they are reported to have occurred in Texas. Work carried out in Central America suggests that the species is declining in response to human activities in the tropics and subtropics and they are protected in many areas..

Also known as:

Caucel, Cunaguaro, Margay Cat, Tiger Cat, Tigrillo


Average: 931 mm males; 907 mm females
Range: 862-1,300 mm males; 805-1,029 mm females


Range: 3-7 kg males; 3-5 kg females


Schinz, H.R., 1821.  Das Thierreich eingetheilt nach dem Bau der Thiere als Grundlage ihrer Naturgeschichte und der vergleichenden Anatomie von dem Herrn Ritter von Cuvier, p. 235.  Erster Band, Saugethiere und Vogel.  Stuttgart, Germany, 894 + 38.


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Distribution of Leopardus wiedii

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Leopardus wiedii (Margay ), Peru
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Leopardus wiedii (Margay), Peru
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