Margay, a cat almost at risk according to the IUCN, and already since 2008 because from a report drawn up in that year the number of specimens of this feline is in continuous decline. The causes? The forests, which are the natural and necessary habitat for this animal, are disappearing.
The name of this species was chosen in honor of Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied who collected the samples in Brazil, in fact beyond it is also called Wied’s cat: nothing could be simpler!
The scientific name is actually still different, it is Leopardus Wiedii, a long name for what is a small feline native to Central and South America very similar to the better known ocelot. However, these two felines cannot be confused because the Margay has a slightly shorter head, larger eyes, and longer tail and legs.
Very particular and which recalls other equally fascinating species, is the fur of this Wied cat, with a brown background and covered with numerous dark brown lines that are associated and combined with a lot of imagination with black rosettes and other longitudinal streaks.
In the lower limbs the hair becomes lighter, and also the spots and streaks, turning towards yellow-brown and white but the tail remains with dark bands and black tip as well as the ears which are black in the back with circular white spots. in the center.
You wouldn’t say domestic like a cat, the Margay, apart from the fact that there are so few specimens that it is difficult to talk about a pet. In general, it could not be due to its solitary and even nocturnal character.
It is a feline that lives above all in evergreen forests and broad-leaved woods, if it could it would perpetually live on trees, jumping and chasing birds and monkeys, from branch to branch. Not all felines could afford it but the Margay yes because it is one of the few with a particular flexibility in the ankles that allows it to descend from the trees with the head forward.
The only other such skilled feline is the clouded leopard, both, and only they, have ankles that can turn up to 180 degrees thus allowing it to grasp branches equally well with its front and back legs. What’s more, our Wied cat can jump up to 3.7m horizontally and hang from branches with only one paw.
Solitary and nocturnal, these particular cats gather practically only to mate, they mark the territory with their urine, leaving even scratch marks on the ground or on the branches, and emit noises that are heard only in their vicinity.
When they find their soul mate, the mating lasts up to sixty seconds and takes place in the trees with a dynamic that recalls the act of domestic cats. After a gestation of approximately 80 days, the mother Margay parors only one puppy at a time, almost always, between March and June.
Each healthy puppy weighs from 85 to 170 grams, grows a lot and opens his eyes after two weeks, eats solid food after two months, reaches sexual maturity at one year and has about a dozen years of life ahead of him, double if in captivity. Unfortunately, the kittens of this very particular species have a mortality rate of 50%, very high, therefore it is difficult to increase the population of Wied cats.
If a puppy is around 85-170 grams, when it is born, an adult specimen reaches a weight that can vary between 2.6 and 4 kg. The body is slender, because this weight corresponds to a length ranging from 48 to 79 centimeters, to which add the tail of 33 – 51 centimeters.
Does it make sense to ask what price this animal has? It is an animal at risk of extinction and that we must try not to make it disappear from the earth’s surface, also to preserve the biodiversity of our planet. Its natural environments, from which it is good not to eradicate it, are Mexico, Central America and the north of South America in the eastern part of the Andes.
Some specimens of this wildcat more wild than the wildcat can also be found in Uruguay and northern Argentina and, it is essential that you find areas of dense forest or coffee and cocoa plantations where it has sometimes been sighted. It can in fact go outside its own areas to hunt small mammals, birds, lizards and frogs. It also eats eggs, grass, and other greenery, for better digestion.
Morgay rescued in the forest
To the head of the news, a puppy from Margay, in June 2016, with a story with a happy ending set in Colombia. A puppy of this small-sized feline, originally from Central and South America, was rescued after being found dying, probably after being attacked by other animals in the forest.
He was found bleeding, wounded, with his coat very similar to that of the jaguar, with already natural stains mixed with those caused by his injuries. Not only blood but also fractures, the puppy was really badly treated but the locals noticed him and helped him while he was in danger of drowning in the stream of the village where he had tried to take refuge to escape from the attackers.
A bad adventure that is nice to tell only because it ends well: Margay’s puppy was put back on his feet, with special prostheses, after a three-hour surgery carried out by the veterinarians and will be able to run free again in the forest.