The southern tiger cat, aka southern tigrina, tigrina, or oncilla, is found only from eastern Paraguay, to central and southern Brazil (in the Minas Gerais and Goiás states), northeastern Argentina, and in the Atlantic forests. They prefer thick subtropical and tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, mixed pine forests, beach vegetation, and open savannahs. There are 2 subspecies, the northern and the southern. Sadly, these cute critters face the threats of habitat destruction at the hands of residential and commercial developments, deforestation from agriculture, and road developments (which escalate the risk of vehicle strike – being hit by vehicles); hunting; trapping; fires and fire suppression; and invasive species (and with them diseases and interbreeding with domestic and feral cats). There are only an estimated 6,047 wild individuals remaining and their populations are decreasing. The IUCN lists these kitties as Vulnerable.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Leopardus guttulus
Weight: Up to 5.3 lbs.
Length: Up to 23.23 inches, plus up to a 16.54 inch tail
Height: Up to 8 inches
Lifespan: Up to 21 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) The southern tiger cat is mostly nocturnal (active at night). But they can sometimes exhibit diurnal (active during the day) activity.
2.) Like most all cats, they are solitary and only come together to mate.
3.) Since they tend to live in ocelot territory, they will often come out during the day in areas with heavier ocelot concentrations to avoid being lunch.
4.) In locations where there are few to no ocelots around, these cats are far more abundant. This is termed as the ocelot effect.
5.) Even though they are superb climbers, they are more terrestrial (spend their lives on the ground).
But wait, there’s more on the southern tiger cat!
6.) When faced with a threat, these cats will arch their back, erect the hairs on their back and tail (to appear larger), then growl, hiss, and spit.
Did you know…?
Northern tiger cats are sleeker while southern tiger cats are stockier.
8.) Females undergo up to a 78 day gestation (pregnancy) that yields up to 3 cubs.
9.) Cubs are born altricial (blind and helpless) and their eyes begin to open at around 17 days.
10.) The cubs are weaned in about 3 months, and are independent at around 11 months.
Now a Short Southern Tiger Cat Video!
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