Critter Science

The Science of Animals


The Shy Margay

The margay is a critter from the feline family and whom resides in Mexico, Central, and South America (East of the Andes mountains); primarily in the Amazon, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Belize. The margay enjoys life in rainforests, evergreen forests, and deciduous forests. However, they can also be found near cocoa, and coffee plantations. Read more about this elusive and shy kitty.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Leopardus wiedii
Weight: Up to 8 lbs.
Length: Up to 2 feet, plus an 18 inch tail
Lifespan: Up to 18 years

Now on to the Facts!

1.) These cats are nocturnal (active at night).

2.) They have large eyes that are capable of excellent night vision.

3.) Being arboreal (adapted to life in trees), they are easily able to leap from branch to branch. They are also able to hang upside down from their hind legs, where they then drop on top of prey. Surprise!

4.) A margay will mainly prey on opossums, squirrels, small monkeys, sloths, porcupines, tree frogs, lizards and birds.

5.) Margays are solitary creatures, like most cats.

But wait, there’s more on the margay!

6.) Territories extend to approximately 26 square miles!

7.) Due to their arboreal habits, they are sometimes referred to as the tree ocelot.

Did you know…?
To make things easier to scale trees, margays have double jointed feet that can rotate up to 180°.

8.) Breeding season lasts all year long in tropical regions and seasonally in temperate regions.

9.) Pregnancy lasts 76 – 85 days and yields 1 – 2 kittens.

10.) Females give birth biannually and the mortality rate is high at 50%!

Now a Short Margay Video!

Learn more about all kinds of cool critters here.

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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