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Jaguarundi Puma yaguaroundi (Lacepede, 1809)
Least Concern
The jaguarundi has been called the weasel cat, because it does not look like a typical cat. In parts of Mexico they are known as otter cats. They appear to be rather like a mustelid, with short legs, a slender elongate body, and a very long tail. The head is small and flattened, and the nasal region looks particularly compressed. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, the jaguarundi has an identical jaw size to that of the margay. The anterior upper premolar is present in both species. A jaguarundi’s pupils are round, as are those of the Panthera or big cats.

Uniformly coloured, the jaguarundi is the only cat which does not have contrasting colour on the backs of the ears. There are two colour phases which were once thought to be separate species: a foxy reddish/chestnut phase, the Eyra; and the so-called normal or Grey phase, which is blackish/browny-grey.

The jaguarundi is not closely related to the other small South American cats, which have 36 chromosomes. It has 38, and is believed to have entered North America across the Bering Strait with the ancestor of the puma. This occurred much later than the other Latin American felines. The cats originated in the Old World and entered the Americas via the land bridges.

Although very distinctive in appearance, the jaguarundi has often been classified in the Felis genus. Wozencraft (1993) recognised its differences by allocating a separate genus in the latest taxonomic review of the cats.

Principal Dimensions
Overall Males Females
Head and body lengths (cm) - - -
Height at shoulder (cm) - - -
Tail lengths (cm) - - -
Weight (kg) - - -
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