Wednesday, April 10, 2013

J is for Jaguarundi

No I didn't type that wrong.  The jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi) is not the same thing as a jaguar.  They are both cats, however, despite the jaguarundi looking more like a weasel.  They have long, slender bodies, short legs, flattened heads, rounded ears, and a long tail.

The jaguarundi can be found in a wide range, from southern Texas all the way down to Argentina.  They inhabit rainforests and dry climates.  There are two main color morphs present in the jaguarundi: a dark morph (black, brown, or gray) and a red morph (tawny yellow to chestnut red).  Unlike many other cat species, they do not possess spots. 

These cats are very vocal, having 13 call recorded including a purr, whistle, scream, chatter, yap, and a bird-like “chirp.”  Jaguarundi likely live alone or in pairs.  The female will give birth to 1-4 kittens after approximately 70-74 days.  She will keep her kittens in a den until they're about 28 days old.  Jaguarundi reach sexual maturity in 2-3 years and live around 15 years.

Jaguarundi are of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.  However, the species is undergoing a decline right now due to habitat loss and fragmentation.  Further study of this unique cat is needed for their future conservation.