Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Jaguarundi Cat

The strangest of the New World cats...

The jaguarundi is like no other species of the Cat family.  It has short legs and, with its long thin body, resembles a weasel rather than a cat.  Its coat is thin and smooth, the hairs being light grey at the base and dark brown at the tips.  When angered it bristles and its coat takes on a greyish color.  Its coat carries no markings or variation in tone, of any kind.  Even when very young, its coloration is uniform.  Oddly enough, there seems to be two distinct types of jaguarundi, called "color phases" by zoologists.  One is a more or less dark grey, sometimes even black; the other is a bright red.

For a long time it was believed that two separate species existed, but ever since young have been found in the same litter demonstrating each of these color phases, it has been realized that the two color phases belong to one and the same species.  The jaguarundi cat lives in pairs, except when the female is bringing up her young.  It lives in the most varied kinds of habitat and can be found in grasslands, in abandoned plantations and even in forests.  Below, is a map that shows their natural range of habitat:

It hunts small mammals and catches a number of grain-eating birds which flutter about while they are plundering the seeds of grasses.  It was once mistakenly thought that the jaguarundi was partially a tree-dweller, but this is incorrect due to the fact that it lives on the ground and sleeps beneath a covering of grass.  This particular cat does not fear water.

It can easily be tamed and becomes as docile as a domesticated cat, albeit its instinct to hunt never leaves it.  Because of its dull coloring, it is seldom hunted and as a result, it has escaped the massacres which other felines have suffered.

The jaguarundi breed all year round.  After a gestation period of 70 to 75 days, the female gives birth to a litter of one to four kittens in a den constructed in a dense thicket, hollow tree, or similar cover.  The young are capable of taking solid food at around six weeks, although they begin to play with their mother's food as early as three weeks. Jaguarundi cats become sexually mature at about two years of age, and have lived for up to 10 years in captivity.

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---End of Post "Jaguarundi Cat"

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