The margay varies in color from tawny yellow
to greyish brown, and the coat is marked with
rows of dark spots, lines, and open rosettes. The
center of each rosette, is slightly paler, but
still darker than the ground color of the fur.
The belly, chest, throat, chin, and insides of
the legs are snowy white. There is much
individual variation in coat pattern. The rather
bushy tail is as much as 70% of the body length,
and marked with broad rings and a black tip. The
large eyes are dark brown.
Margays average two feet from feet to
shoulders, three feet in length (exclusive of
tail), and weigh five to twelve pounds.
The margay inhabits tropical and subtropical
forested regions from Northern Mexico to Uruguay
and northern Argentina.
Although occasionally reported outside
forested areas, such as in shaded cocoa or coffee
plantations, the margay is more strongly
associated with forest habitat than any other
tropical American cat. It appears to be less
tolerant of human settlement and altered habitat
than other species, but may occur in disturbed
areas with sufficient tree cover.
The margay preys on a variety of arboreal and
terrestrial mammals, birds and their eggs,
amphibians, reptiles, and arthropods; it has also
been known to take fruit.
Mating may occur at any time of the year.
Courtship behavior has never been observed in the
One, sometimes two, kitten is born after a
gestation of 76 to 84 days. The young are darker
than the adults, and have uniformly dark spots
and dark grey paws. Eyes open at about two weeks,
weaning takes place at around two months, and
sexual maturity is reached at about two years.
Margays have been known to live to 20 years of
age in captivity.
Other Habits and
Margays are notable for their climbing prowess
and arboriality. Although they spend most of
their time in the trees, they will hunt and
travel on the ground. Their broad, soft feet and
mobile toes allow them to hang from tree limbs by
one hind foot, and flexible ankles can rotate the
foot 180 degrees outward. They are exceedingly
quick, and even during a fall they can grab hold
of a branch with one front or hind paw and climb
up again. Unlike most cats who descend trees hind
feet first, margays often descend head first.
Margays are solitary except for breeding and
mothers with kittens.
As the large eyes suggest, they are primarily
genus & species Leopardus wiedii
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Leopardus_wiedii/
International Society for Endangered Cats
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