The jaguarundi is amongst the most unusual of cat species in the New World, being rather weasel-like in its looks. Its body is slender and long, with a small flattened head, short legs, a long tail, and short rounded ears. The species has two main color morphs: one being dark, i.e. uniform black, gray, or brownish, sometimes a little lighter on the undersides, and a red morph, which can vary from tawny yellow to a bright chestnut red. Due to looking like a weasel, the dark morph jaguarundi will often be mistaken for the tayra, which is a large mustelid, but it lacks the tayra’s yellowish spot on the throat and has a very long, thin tail and very short hair.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
A cursorial organism is one that is adapted specifically to run. An animal can be considered cursorial if it has the ability to run fast (e.g. chee...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The jaguarondi is widely distributed throughout North, Central, and South America, ranging from southern Texas to as far south as northern Argentina. It occurs in a wide range of open as well as closed habitats, such as rainforest, thickets, savanna, swamp, and savanna woodland, as well as semi-arid thorn scrub. It may also live in secondary vegetation and areas that have been disturbed but is believed to prefer areas that have at least some thick ground cover.
Jaguarundis are very secretive animals. They are solitary apart from during the mating season. These animals are mostly diurnal, with most of their activity taking place at about 11 in the morning. Jaguarundis are terrestrial creatures; they are efficient climbers as well but hunt mainly on the ground. They are also very good swimmers. They are quite vocal, with at least 13 different calls having been recorded, including a purr, scream, whistle, chatter, yap, and a “chirp” like a bird. Mothers will often call to their kittens with a brief purr, the kittens answering with a series of short peeps. In warning, a jaguarundi will hiss loudly and/or spit.
Jaguarundis are polygynous, which means that one male gets exclusive mating rights with multiple females. Breeding may take place at any time of the year. In Mexico, the mating season is during November and December. The animals construct dens, typically in dense thickets or hollow logs. Litters are between 1 to 4 kittens, born after a gestation time from 63 to 75 days. Kittens are born blind and helpless and are weaned when about 2 months old; then their mother teaches them how to hunt and look after themselves. She protects them and will move her den when disturbed. Independence comes at around 10 months of age and sexual maturity is reached at about 2 - 3 years old.
The numbers of jaguarundis are decreasing every day, due to the loss of their natural habitat, deforestation, and expanding cities. Jaguarundis are hunted by farmers because they eat their poultry, and they are sometimes caught accidentally in traps laid for other animals.
According to the IUCN Red List, research indicates that the Jaguarundi is an uncommon, low-density species. It is considered Near Threatened in Argentina and Threatened in Mexico. But globally, it is classified as Least Concern (LC) with decreasing population trend.