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Animals

Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

17 Purrrfect Facts About The Margay Cat Kids Will Love

Margay facts that they consider themselves monkeys and love to climb as well as hang on tree branches

The margay, also known as Felis wiedii, is a wild and small feline found in the wildlife. The small mammal has a long tail and a cute appearance. People often tend to confuse them as a pet or a friendly cat. They are meant for wildlife and are native to Central and South America. The feline has a similar appearance as that of the larger ocelot. Its tail is longer than the rest of its body and composes 70% of its body. They usually live on trees in the forests.

Their population has been threatened because of illegal hunting for wildlife trade in the '90s. Later, in the year 2008, considering the increased threat to the small mammals, hunting them was made illegal. Margays prey upon several animals found in the forests. They mostly prey upon monkeys, lizards, birds, and rodents in the dead of night. Unlike other cats, the small mammal gives birth to one kitten. Two kittens are seldom born. Their slow reproduction process is also one of the reasons why their population is threatened.

Amazed knowing about these exciting facts on margay? For more relevant content, check out our pages on the ringtail cat and the Asian golden cat.

Margay Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a margay?

The margay is a wild feline that lives in evergreen and deciduous forests. The small mammals are native to Central and South America.

What class of animal does a margay belong to?

The margay belongs to the Mammalia class of the Animalia family.

How many margays are there in the world?

The margay, a small cat, is rare to find. We can not say how many margays are left in the world as their population estimate is inexact. One of the reasons for this could be that they reproduce only once a year and face issues with breeding. Furthermore, some illegal hunters are causing threats to their population.

Where do margays live?

They are wild cats and live in evergreen and deciduous forests. They are mostly found in Central and South America in parts of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Mexico.

What is a margay’s habitat?

A margay’s habitat can be found in tropical lowlands, coastal lowlands, evergreen forests, tropical dry forests, cloud forests, coffee, and cocoa plantations. The wild cat is not suitable for city life since it isn’t a domestic cat.

Who does margay live with?

The wild cat prefers to live alone. They are solitary cats and do not like company. However, a mother margay lives with her kittens.

How long does a margay live?

An average margay’s lifespan is said to be 20 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The cat species reproduce when the female and male cat mate. Their gestation period lasts 76-86 days. They give birth to one or rarely two kittens once a year. The females ovulate spontaneously and their sexual maturity reaches at the age of two. Moreover, they have only a single pair of mammary glands, unlike other wild cat species. They can live in captivity for up to 20 years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of margays is Nearly Threatened. Although margays tend to protect themselves by avoiding human interactions and regions where ocelots dwell, ocelots, as well as humans, are their major predators. The population of these wild cats is decreasing day by day. It has become essential to preserve them.

Margay Fun Facts

What do margays look like?

The margay looks similar to the ocelots and is also known as the tree ocelot. In fact, these cats look similar to the larger ocelots. However, they can be differentiated through some features. The tree ocelot has a short head, large eyes, a long tail, and legs. Moreover, the margay possesses only two teats, unlike other cats. Their fur is brown with longitudinal streaks of light brown or black, similar to leopards.

Margays or Leopardus wiedii mark their territory using urine, feces, and secretions from glands.

How cute are they?

They are extremely cute creatures. Even though they’re wild animals, their appearance can be deceiving since they look cute.

How do they communicate?

Margays communicate in various forms. However, their vocals aren’t suitable for long distances. They communicate by hissing, growling, snarling, purring, and meowing. Moreover, they tend to mark their territory with their urine, feces, and secretions from glands.

How big is a margay?

A margay adult is 18-31 in (46-79 cm) in length and has a height of 12 in (30 cm). The margay's size is smaller than the average ocelots. However their body and tail are longer than their head.

How fast can a margay run?

Margay runs at a mediocre speed. It is faster than a regular cat. However, its running speed is similar to that of an ocelot. Margays mostly reside on trees and love to hang, as well as, jump from trees.

How much does a margay weigh?

A margay weighs about 5-11 lb (2.3-4.9 kg) approximately.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female name of margays is none other than margay or Leopardus wiedii.

What would you call a baby margay?

Margay babies are known as margay kittens. The kittens are born with a weight ranging between 0.18-0.37 lb (84-170 g). They open their eyes after two weeks of being born. Moreover, these cats have one difference, the younger ones have darker fur than the adults.

What do they eat?

Margays are carnivore cats and include various types of animals in their diet. A margay's diet includes monkeys, squirrels, tree rats, opossums, tree frogs, lizards, birds, rodents, eggs, and insects.

Are they slobbery?

Similar to other cats, margays aren’t slobbery cat species.

Would they make a good pet?

The margay is a small cat and isn’t suitable for pets. They have been considered dangerous to human beings.

Did you know...

Margays are small mammals found in the wild. Their cute appearance can be deceiving as they aren’t pets. Margays are wild cats with a similar look as the ocelot. Margays are known as small ocelots or tree ocelots.

Margays have brown fur with dark brown or black longitudinal streaks. Their head is smaller than their body. They have a long tail and body. The wild cat loves to climb and hang on trees like monkeys which is why they are known as tree ocelots.

Margays have a weird way of communicating. They mark their territory with their urine, feces, and gland secretions.

The margay is a solitary cat and doesn’t like to live in groups. They reproduce only once a year.

Why are margays endangered?

The margay's conversation status is Nearly Threatened. Although they are not Endangered, their population seems to be decreasing over the years. The reasons behind their decreasing population are several. The margay habitat is being destructed by deforestation and converting forests into agricultural lands. Margays have been hunted illegally for their pelts. Most of the time they are killed by automobiles. They are traded by illegal traders in the pet market even though they are dangerous to humans. Their low reproduction rate is one of the main reasons why their population is threatened.

Margay vs ocelot

The margay and ocelot are two similar animals. Every time one of them is mentioned the other is also mentioned. The margay adaptations are similar to the ocelots. Both the cat species, margay and ocelot, live in forest habitats. The margay and ocelot have a similar look. They have a similar body length and fur. They both have brown fur with dark brown and black longitudinal streaks and spots on their body. The margay and ocelot are often confused as the exact same by some people. Both the cat species live in forest habitats on trees. Both species are excellent climbers and spend most of their time on trees. Moreover, the margay diet is similar to that of the ocelot’s. They both prey on monkeys, lizards, birds, eggs, and rats found in their habitat. These species prey on animals at night mostly. However, the margay is smaller in size than an ocelot. The margay has a longer body length and a tail longer, whereas, an ocelot has a larger body but a smaller tail than margay. The margay has larger eyes, whereas, ocelot has smaller eyes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our sand cat facts and African wildcat facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printabl margay coloring pages.

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