Little Spotted cat, Little Tiger cat, Tiger cat, Tigrillo, Cunaguaro , Northern tiger cat, Little spotted cat
The oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus ), also known as the northern tiger cat, little spotted cat, and tigrillo, is a small spotted cat ranging from Central America to central Brazil. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and the population is threatened by deforestation and conversion of habitat to agricultural land.Show More
In 2013, it was proposed to assign the oncilla populations in southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina to a new species: the southern tiger cat (L. guttulus ), after it was found that it does not interbreed with the oncilla population in northeastern Brazil.Show Less
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
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 mesopredator is a medium-sized predator in the middle of a trophic level, which typically preys on smaller animals. When populations of apex pred...
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 ...
Scansorial animals are those that are adapted to or specialized for climbing. Many animals climb not only in tress but also in other habitats, such...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
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.
Oncillas are amongst the smallest of South America’s wild cats. They have short, thick light brown to gray fur, spotted with dark brown rosettes with a black outline. Their eyes range in color from light through to dark brown. These animals are often mistaken for margays or ocelots. Although oncillas are smaller, they otherwise look very similar to these species, oncillas being more slender and having larger ears and a narrower muzzle. Furthermore, their eyes have a more lateral location than those of the margay, and their tails are longer than an ocelot’s.
Oncillas are mainly found in South America, though small populations also live intermittently in Central America. Oncillas live north of Costa Rica and in the south as far as the very north of Argentina. They favor forest habitats and inhabit a wide range of forest ecosystems, including cloud forests, dense tropical forests, humid montane forests, and humid premontane forests. They seem to expand into deciduous and subtropical forests, and they have successfully populated semiarid thorny scrub and savannas in Brazil. They are also found in eucalyptus monocultures and plantations.
Oncillas are mainly nocturnal but in areas like Caatinga, where their diet primarily consists of diurnal lizards, these animals are more prone to be active in the daytime. During the breeding season pairs are sometimes seen, but they are considered highly solitary animals. Although they are primarily terrestrial, they can climb well. Females have a range that is 0.9 to 2.3 sq. km, while that of males is 4.8 to 17 sq. km, larger than usual for cats of such size. Males in the wild can be very aggressive towards females. Not much is known about communication between oncillas. Young kittens purr, while adults make a short and rhythmic "gurgle" sound.
Nothing is known about the wild oncilla’s mating system; however, captive animals of this species appear to stay with the same mate for life. Mating takes place in early spring and the gestation period is about 75 days. Oncillas usually bear 1 kitten in each breeding cycle, but they can have as many as 3. Kittens start to eat solid food at 5 to 7 weeks of age, and by 3 months old they are usually weaned. Teeth start to grow after 21 days, later than for most cats; however, their teeth tend to emerge all at the same time, within a few hours. At 4 months old kittens are completely independent and by 11 months they are fully grown. Females are sexually mature at 2 years old, and males at 18 months.
Decades ago the oncilla was heavily hunted for the fur trade, subsequent to the decline of the trading of ocelots. Although international trade stopped, there is still some illegal hunting, most often for the local market. Current threats to the oncilla include habitat loss and fragmentation, roads, illegal trade for pets and pelts, and killing as a result of the animal preying on poultry. Populations are extremely fragmented and are being further drastically reduced by the conversion of habitat to pasture and plantations. Any change in the predator/competitor dynamics of native species could be another threat that has previously been undetected.
According to the IUCN Red List, oncillas are rare everywhere throughout their habitat with an expected total population size ranging from 8,932 to 10,208 adult individuals. This species’ numbers are decreasing and it is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the List of Threatened Species.