Monday, July 20, 2015


This week I'm introducing you to another interesting wild cat. I like cats. I'm sure you've noticed that. They are interesting and entertaining creatures. We have a 'wild' cat in our house and his name is Mickey. I'm not so sure he could climb a tree as well as our special guest, but given the chance I'm certain he'd try! :-) Mickey has stopped by for a photo shot and to say 'Hi.' 

Now, let's get right to this week's wildlife tidbit. 

The Margay is one of the smallest species of wild cats. It is more adapted to arboreal life than any other wild cat. Unlike other cats, the Margay can climb down a tree headfirst. This is due to an unusual bone structure in its ankles. It can actually rotate its hind legs 180 degrees. This physical adaptation also allows the Margay to hang from tree branches with one foot.

Often confused with the Ocelot, the Margay has a thick coat with ringed and elongated blotches on a tawny background. A bit larger than a typical house cat, the Margay can weigh anywhere between 6 to 20 pounds. It has a long tail that is 70% of its body length. This long tail helps the Margay to balance as it jumps from tree branch to tree branch in search of prey. They can leap as much as 12 feet from one tree to another.

The Margay lives in southern Mexico, through Central America and into the forests of South America. They have been found in dense forests, tropical forests and into high altitudes as well.

The Margay is a solitary cat and hunts mostly at night. Its large round eyes help it locate its meal in the dark. It will eat anything from, lizards, and monkeys to fruit.

According to the IUCN*, the Margay is near threatened. However, it seems that there is uncertainty about the numbers of cats in the wild. It is agreed that the population is declining due to habitat encroachment and hunting. Despite legal protection, the Margay is still being hunted for its pelt, or captured for the illegal pet trade.

*IUCN = International Union for Conservation of Nature

Take a moment to watch this short video I found for you. It provides some wonderful footage of the Margay in treetops. You will see first hand what an amazing climber and hunter this small cat is.

For more information about the Margay, visit the following sites:

My thanks to Arkive for their information and photos, and to all of you who stop by on a weekly basis to support Australian Fantasy’s blog. Please come by again, leave a comment, and share this wildlife tidbit with your children.


Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza and The Gift of Sunderland
Middle Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!

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