Jaguarundis are a type of small cat. They have long tails, short legs, small round ears, and slender bodies. Jaguarundis have unpatterned fur, which comes in a variety of colours. The main forms are black, grey, brown or red. Unlike the adults, kittens have spots on their fur. Other common names for the jaguarundi are otter cat, weasel cat, eyra, jaguarondi and yaguarundi.
The scientific name for the jaguarundi is either Felis yagouaroundi or Herpailurus yagouaroundi. There is some disagreement about which name is the most appropriate. Eight sub-species of jaguarundi have been discovered. These are:
- Felis yagouaroundi armeghinol
- Felis yagouaroundi cacomitli
- Felis yagouaroundi eyra
- Felis yagouaroundi fossata
- Felis yagouaroundi melantho
- Felis yagouaroundi panamensis
- Felis yagouaroundi tolteca
- Felis yagouaroundi yagouaroundi
Habitat and Lifestyle
Jaguarundis are found in Central and South America, and parts of North America. They live on the edges of forests, and in dense thickets. These cats are not good climbers, and spend most of their time on the ground. They seem to prefer eating birds, but will also eat rodents, frogs, insects, and fish. They have sometimes been known to eat fruit.
Jaguarundis have never been popular as pets or zoo animals, and they have not been hunted for their fur. The main risk to the jaguarundi population is habitat destruction. On 14 June, 1976, the USA listed two sub-species as endangered: Felis yagouaroundi cacomitli and Felis yagouaroundi tolteca.