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MARGAY

Scientific name: Leopardus Wiedii (d’Orbigny & Grvais, 1843)

Common name: Margay (Gato maracajá, gato do mato)

Behavior: nocturnal, arboreal, solitary;

Habitat: savanna, dry shrubland, savanna wetland, but mainly tropical and subtropical forests (including riverine forests).

Diet: Carnivore, mainly small vertebrate like rodents and birds, but also fruit and seeds in a lesser ratio.

Geographic distribution: from north of Mexico down to Uruguay and the north of Argentina (except the Andes). In Brazil it occurs in all regions, from the Amazon basin to the South, in every remaining forests.

Breeding: gestation period is 81 to 84 days, litter of one kitten.

Description: A small species, like a miniature Leopardus Pardalis, can even be easily confused with it. The average weight is 3kg (2-5kg). Head and body measure approximately 53cm (46-62). The most striking features are its large and protuberant eyes, a projecting muzzle, large paws and quite a long tail, that accounts for almost 40% of its body length (30-48cm). Coat color ranges from yellow-gray to ochre-brown, with large, sparse rosettes, complete and largely spread on the sides. Nuchal hairs are thrust towards the head. The animal can sit on its hind legs.

Status: On IBAMA’s Official List of Endangered Brazilian Mammals, CITES appendix II, Not very well known by UICN

Main Threats: In the past, it has been heavily exploited for its fur. However, habitat destruction is now the primary threat to reduced populations.

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