- Most notably, the short term of Margay serves as the generally accepted common name of a truly stunning species of wildcat. However, it also goes by the hard to pronounce scientific name of the Leopardus wiedii.
- But, regardless of the name one uses to refer to it, the creature remains an impressive animal, for many reasons. To begin with, this remarkable feline also remains a predominantly nocturnal animal within most of its territory.
- The species also typically prefers to spend the majority of its time in extremely remote sections within its native range. As a result this stunning marvel of Nature remains rarely seen by casual visitors to the region in which it appears.
- Currently, the IUCN lists the marvelous Margay as Near Threatened. Sadly, this unfortunate evaluation of its situation holds true throughout the entirety of its natural range. This status is reflected on the organization’s Red List of Threatened Species.
- Further, the highly lamentable situation the beautiful small wildcat finds itself in occurs due to several factors. Firstly, in some regions, people still slaughter an average of 14,000 of these beautiful wildcats annually for the fur.
- Quite understandably, this action has resulted in an extreme decrease in its population base. In addition, the twin perils of habitat loss and climate change continue to present extreme challenges to the reclusive small mammal.
Margay Physical Description
Firstly, although it certainly qualifies as an impressive animal, the Margay does not attain this status due to physical size. That’s because the feline only attains a small size in terms of sheer mass. In fact, it reaches a maximum known weight of as much as 8.8 lb (4 kg).
Furthermore, the body length of mature adult specimens averages about 31 in (79 cm). Meanwhile, the tail, somewhat surprisingly, grows to a length equal to a significant percentage of the length of the body. This generally measures 20 in (51 cm) in length.
Its fur also displays a distinctive pattern. This consists of a light brown that appears splotched with dark brown or black blotches and streaks. In the meantime, the stomach of this creature generally displays an off-white, and the tail has multiple bands, with a black tip.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Margay remains the fact that it has a remarkable evolutionary adaptation in its ankles. These evolved to be so flexible that the cats can actually walk down a tree trunk headfirst. It’s one of only two known to possess this ability.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Leopardus
- Species: L. wiedii
Margay Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite unfortunately, the gorgeous animal known as the Margay only inhabits a relatively small section of the world. This holds true because of the fact that it only appears in a limited area composed of sections of North America, Central America, and South America.
However, evidence also indicates that this beautiful creature once ranged as far north as the states of Georgia and Florida, in the United States. In addition, even within this range of habitation, the creature has very specific preferences for its choice of habitat.
That’s true, first, since this truly amazing wildcat lives almost exclusively in areas of dense forest. Second, though, this includes such typical habitats as the numerous prominent tropical dry forests, evergreen forests, and cloud forests, sometimes known as fog forest.
Furthermore, the beautiful and truly remarkable Margay evolved to be principally arboreal in its base nature. In point of fact, and incredibly, the great majority of individuals often spend their entire lives within the canopy, never coming down.
Finally, the wildcat will also occasionally establish its territory in a hard to believe location. To the amazement of many people, this consists of commercial plantations. Unfortunately, this only further increases its vulnerability to hunting.