Fun Jaguarundi Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Apr 26, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Jaguarundi facts are very interesting

Are you a fan of everything feline? Here we're going to discuss one of the most interesting cats that have wide home ranges spanning North, Central, and South America.

Jaguarundis (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) are an interesting species of the Felidae family with a flattened head, short legs, and a burly long tail. A Jaguarundi has a short fur coat that can have a grey morph or a red morph.

Their habitat generally revolves around lowlands, areas of dense vegetation, primary and secondary forests, deserts, and even thorn scrubs. Though Jaguarundis enjoy being on the ground, they are also really good climbers as well as swimmers.

One distinct feature of Jaguarundis is their variety of 13 vocalized calls, which helps them communicate. Though mostly a solitary animal, jaguarundis do come together to mate and have one to four cute kittens.

Jaguarundis are currently listed as of 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List. However, they have likely gone extinct in Texas. Interestingly, the Jaguarundi population is found in some parts of Florida. It is believed that they grew from an escaped pet group.

Keep on reading to know more about the best Jaguarundi facts! 

Jaguarundi  Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a jaguarundi?

A Jaguarundi is a part of the cat family and they are quite close to pumas.

What class of animal does a jaguarundi belong to?

Jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) falls under the class of 'Mammalia' in the genus 'Herpailurus'.

How many jaguarundis are there in the world?

No clear data is found about the number of Jaguarundis that are present in the wild.

Where does a jaguarundi live?

Jaguarundis are found in habitats like tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, deserts, thorn scrubs across North, South, and Central America.

What is a jaguarundi's habitat?

A Jaguarundi likes to live a secretive life. Jaguarundis prefer to stay in the lowlands of Central and South America.

The jaguarundi cat can live in open or closed habitat, but they prefer the presence of dense vegetation. Jaguarundis are one such New World felines that have the capacity to adapt to different types of environments fairly quickly.

They also like to live near waters and have the ability to swim and cross small streams. These medium-sized cats are morning animals, and they like to hunt before noon. However, jaguarundis are classified as diurnal, meaning that they can be active at any time of the day.

You may also spot a jaguarundi lounging on a tree, and they are great tree climbers, a quality that is useful in forested areas. This cat species is able to live at an altitude no more than 3200 m.

Who do jaguarundi live with?

The jaguarundi prefers to live alone and they like to maintain their privacy. The only time a jaguarundi may interact with another one is during the mating season. Nevertheless, in Paraguay some jaguarundis have been found in pairs hinting to some group cohabiting with each other.

How long does a jaguarundi live?

It has been studied that Jaguarundis in captivity can live up to 15 years of age. However, a certain answer cannot be found about their lifespan in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

As a secretive animal, the reproduction life of jaguarundis hasn't been a topic of extensive study. However, they do show reproduction features like any other big cat. Jaguarundis are generally polygamous, but pairs have also been spotted in some areas.

Most Jaguarundis are able to breed throughout the year. However, there might be a mating season in Mexico that lasts between November and December. Jaguarundis are known for their mating screams.

To prepare for the birth, jaguarundis create dens in thickets or even in hollow tree logs. The gestation period can last up to 75 days.

On average, a jaguarundi gives birth to four kittens per litter. The jaguarundi kitten is appropriately covered in thick fur. A fun fact about jaguarundis is that the female can take up to three years to reach sexual maturity.

What is their conservation status?

As per the IUCN Red List Jaguarundis are enlisted as of 'Least Concern'. However, their population are regarded extinct in Texas.

Jaguarundi Fun Facts

What do jaguarundi look like?

Jaguarundi facts are fun to read for kids.

When you first see Jaguarundis, they will look like oversized kittens. However, these smart cats know their way around the South American forests.

The distinctive feature of a jaguarundi is its small flattened head which is weasel-like, complimented with rounded ears. They have a slender body, and their limbs are shorter compared to the size of the body.

The long and fluffy tail of a jaguarundi will definitely make you want to touch it. There are two color variations found in the species. One is a dark-grey that almost looks black, and the other one is red, which may at times look brown.

Some think that is due to the formation of two distinct breeds. Jaguarundis lack any spotting on their body, but the underbelly is slightly lighter than the rest of their coat.

Jaguarundi kittens may have some spotting at birth. There is also some speculation regarding their coat turning darker in the winter months.

How cute are they?

The wild cats jaguarundis are just as cute like all other felines. You would love to see their short legs and the long tail which makes them look just like a wild version of the common domesticated cat. The jaguarundis with dark black coats look especially beautiful.

How do they communicate?

Jaguarundis have 13 distinct calls which help them to vocalize and communicate amongst each other and with other animals. They even hiss or spit to warn their enemies. A female jaguarundi will also use her urine to mark a place during the mating season.

How big is a jaguarundi?

A jaguarundi is able to reach the length of 21-30 in (53 cm - 77 cm) and a height of almost 14 in (36 cm). So, they are a medium sized cat species. The long tail of a jaguarundi itself measures around 12–20 in (31–52 cm). Jaguarundis can be two times the size of a domestic cat.

How fast can a jaguarundi run?

Jaguarundis can run very fast like other cat species and it can be due to their closeness with pumas. The average speed of a Jaguarundi is 60 mph or 96 km/hr, which is extremely fast for this New World feline species.

How much does a jaguarundi weigh?

The weight of a jaguarundi can average between 7.7–15.4 lb (3.5–7 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female of the jaguarundis.

What would you call a baby jaguarundi?

As a jaguarundi is part of the cat family their babies are called kittens.

What do they eat?

Jaguarundis are carnivores, so they are pretty much adapted to eating all forms of meat or other sources of protein. But, their usual food list includes small ground birds, rodents, small mammals, reptiles, fish, rabbits, small deer, and even carrion. They usually hunt for an animal that is below 2.2 lb or 1 kg.

Are they friendly?

As wild solitary animals, a Jaguarundi can seldom be described as a friendly animal. Very little is known about these interesting cat species. But, just like with any other wild cats you shouldn't get too close to a jaguarundi. They might become dangerous and aggressive to a stranger who invades their privacy.

Would they make a good pet?

No, a jaguarundi is not supposed to be a pet. In the past, they may have been kept as pets, especially in the United States. It might have led to the introduction of the jaguarundi population in Florida.

However, it isn't legal to have a jaguarundi puma with you as a pet. In the Central American region, starting from Mexico, the jaguarundi population has been a common part of culture. They have described this species as a 'tame' animal, and they were used to control rodents.

Did you know...

A jaguarundi puma doesn't have ears with contrasting  coloured backs which is pretty common in felines.

For a jaguarundi, Puma yagouaroundi was used as a scientific name since 2017. However, it was reclassified into the taxonomic group of Herpailurus yagouaroundi by the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN.

The name 'Herpailurus' was first proposed in 1858 by Nikolai Severtzov, but taxonomists preferred to use puma or cougar as their classification. So, using the binomial name of Puma yagouaroundi is incorrect.

Why are jaguarundi endangered?

Jaguarundis aren't endangered. They are currently listed as 'Least Concern' under the IUCN Red List. However, their population is declining in some areas because of habitat loss.

Also, Texas might be a place where the jaguarundi population has truly gone extinct. The last jaguarundi Texas ever saw was   in 1986. There have been trials of restoring the habitat of the Texas parks present Rio Grande Valley to encourage the growth of jaguarundi population numbers in Southern Texas.

What is another name for a jaguarundi?

Another name for a jaguarundi is 'otter-cat' or 'weasel cat'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Jaguarundi coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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