A jaguarundi is a species of feline (Felis yagouaroundi) native to Central and South America. It is sometimes referred to as the "otter cat" or "weasel cat" due to its slender appearance.
Size and Appearance
This cat is unique in its appearance among the felids in that it more closely resembles a weasel. They have slender, elongated bodies, short legs, a small flattened head, long "otter-like" tail, and a sleek, unmarked coat. Adults can weigh as little as 6 pounds or as much as 20. They stand 10-14 inches at the shoulder, and reach a length of 35-55 inches. Coats occur in 3 main color variations: black, brownish-grey, or red. Any or all colors can occur in a single litter, but generally the darker colors are usually found in the rain forest, while the paler color is found in the drier environments. The jaguarundi is spotted at birth but these are lost at around three-four months old. There is some evidence to suggest that the jaguarundi is perhaps a descendant of the ancestral puma which is believed to have emigrated from Asia via the Bering Land bridge.
The jaguarundi is native to Central America and the northern and central countries of South America down to Argentina - it is also rarely sighted in parts of Texas and New Mexico in the southern United States. A number of jaguarundi are also to be found in Florida, although these are descendants of a small population introduced to the area in the 1940’s. The jaguarundi is most commonly found in lowland habitats with good cover, such as forest margins and scrubland but is also found less commonly in dense tropical vegetation. Of all of the New World felines, Jaguarundis are the most adaptable in its ability to occupy diverse environments.
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