The Margay is a predominantly nocturnal animal and typically prefers extremely remote sections of the rainforest from Argentina to Mexico.
The IUCN lists the Margay as Near Threatened. In some regions, people hunt an average of 14,000 of these Wildcats for their fur each year which has resulted in an extreme decrease in population. Habitat loss also forms another major threat.
Margay Physical Description
The Margay attain a weight of as much as 8.8 lb (4 kg). The body length averages about 31 in (79 cm) and the tail is roughly 20 in (51 cm) in length.
Their fur is a light brown and splotched with dark brown or black blotches and streaks. The stomach is generally white, and the tail has multiple bands, with a black tip.
The cat evolved to be principally arboreal in nature and they may spend their entire lives within the canopy, never coming down.
They also possess a remarkable evolutionary adaptation in their ankles. These evolved to be so flexible that the cats are able to walk down a tree trunk headfirst. The feline remains one of only two known to possess this ability.
Margay Habitat and Distribution
The feline inhabits a range extending from southern Mexico to slightly beyond Central America. This Wildcat lives almost exclusively in areas of dense forest with typical habitats including tropical dry forests, evergreen forests, and cloud (or fog) forests.
The Margay will occasionally establish their territory in commercial plantations which unfortunately further increases their vulnerability to hunting. Evidence indicates that they once ranged as far north as the states of Georgia and Florida.