- The Kodkod is a wildcat species which surprises many who learn of its existence. That’s because this remarkable animal grows no larger than the average house cat.
- Many people do not even know of the cat’s existence because the Kodkod’s range of habitation is highly limited and typically remote. This includes rainforests and extreme elevations. Also, its already limited numbers are decreasing rapidly.
- The IUCN indicates that the animal’s population now numbers less than 10,000 individuals. Along with its limited habitat range, it thus has the classification of Vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species.
- This species faces numerous threats to its existence which include climate change and habitat loss due to deforestation. In addition, local inhabitants often kill the feline in retaliation for raiding their livestock, most notably chickens.
Kodkod Physical Description
While the Kodkod holds the classification of a wildcat, its size nevertheless remains rather diminutive.
Much as with other felines, either wild or domesticated, it does not display sexual dimorphism. The feline attains an average body length of 20 in, and the short tail averages 9.8 in (25 cm) in length.
The species also reaches an average height at the shoulder of just under 10 in (25.4 cm). The average adult, of either gender, weighs roughly 5.5 lb (2.5 kg). It also has a relatively small head, while its feet rank as relatively large for a feline of its size.
While short, the tail grows comparatively thick. The primary color of the coat ranges from dark yellow to grayish brown. In addition, the body displays numerous dark spots and a ringed tail.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Leopardus
- Species: L. guigna
Kodkod Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The lovely Kodkod ranks as the smallest wildcat in either North America or South America. But it also has the smallest endemic territory. While a small population exists in Argentina, the vast majority of the population resides in central and southern Chile.
Incidentally, it also inhabits a highly specific habitat within that range. Except where forced out by human activity, individuals only inhabit regions of the temperate rainforests of the southern Andes.
The greatest concentrations exist in the Valdivian and Araucaria forests, which possess high concentrations of bamboo. There, its presence ranges up to elevations of as much as 6,200 ft (1,900 m).
These small carnivores hunt by both day and night and feed on a variety of small prey. This typically includes lizards, birds, rodents, and even large insects, such as moths.
Since the Kodkod possesses excellent climbing skills, the impressive small mammal spends as much time in trees as on the ground.