Lioncrusher's Domain > Felidae > Jaguarundi
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Range of the Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi)
 First Described By
   Lacépède, 1809

  Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Chordata
  Class: Mammalia
  Order: Carnivora
  Family: Felidae
  Genus: Puma
  Species: yagouaroundi

 Physical Attributes
  Shoulder Height:
       10-14 in (25-35 cm)
  Head and Body Length:
       22-28 in. (55-70 cm)
  Tail Length:
       20 in. (50 cm)
       9-17 lb. (4-8 kg)

 Life Information
  Gestation: 63-75 days
  Litter size: 2-4
  Age at sexual maturity:
      Male: 24-36 months
      Female: 24-36 months
  Life Span: 15 years

CITES: Appendix II
IUCN: Least Concern

 Also Known As
  Eyra cat

 Scientific Name Synonyms
  Felis yagouaroundi
  Herpailurus yagouaroundi

(Puma yagouaroundi)

Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi)
Range and Habitat

The jaguarundi ranges from southern Texas in the United States to southern Brazil. It occurs along the coast of Mexico, all of Central America, northwest Argentina, Peru, and Paraguay. Only a very small population occurs in Texas. They inhabit the lowland areas of their range, living in the swamplands, forests, and scrub, avoiding the open countryside.

Physical Appearance

The jaguarundi's name means "weasel-cat" in German because of its appearance. Indeed, they do look like otters. Jaguarundis have an almost perfectly round head, small semi-circular ears, and short muzzle. Their long body is carried on short stocky legs. The tail is long and slender.

Their short, sleek coat ranges in color from greyish to reddish brown, with no spots. The jaguarundi is one of the only felines to be devoid of markings. Ther are two color phases of the jaguarundi: the reddish-brown phase, also known as the Eyra, and the greyish phase. The two color phases were once considered to be separate species. The pupils are rounded, like pantherine cats, rather than slits like the smaller cats. They are not closely related to the other South American small cats, but is believed to share ancestry with the cougar (Puma concolor).


This cat hunts mostly during the day, in contrast to other cats which tend to be nocturnal. They will eat small mammals such as rodents, rabbits, and hares; birds and even fruit make up some part of their diet. They will often take domestic poultry, and if chased, they can be surprisingly agile.

Reproduction and Social Behavior

There is no fixed breeding season, but they will generally mate in Spetember and November. Two to four kittens are born after a gestation period of 10 weeks. The kittens mature quickly and are on their own by 2 years. It is believed that these cats are solitary, but pairs have been sighted together. There have even been groups seen together.

The jaguarundi seems to tame relatively well as a pet; natives in South American had kept these cats as pets for centuries. They helped keep the population of rodents down in the villages. They will purr and even chirp like a bird when happy. They have large home ranges that barely overlap. A male's territory can range from 88-100 km² and female's can range from 13-20 km². They move about within their territory, and usually do not stay in one area too long. They tend to be diurnal and crepuscular. Though they tend to be terrestrial, they have been known to climb trees.


Although the jaguarundi is a threatened species, it is unknown what the cause is. They are not easily trapped or shot. They prey on domestic poultry often, which brings them into conflict with humans.


  • P. y. yagouaroundi - East Venezuela to northeast Brazil
  • P. y. ameghinoi - Western Argentina
  • P. y. cacomitli - Southern Texas to central Vera Cruz
  • P. y. eyra - Southern Brazil, Paraguay and north Argentina
  • P. y. fossata - Veracruz to central Nicaragua
  • P. y. melantho - Peru
  • P. y. panamensis - Central Nicaragua to Ecuador
  • P. y. tolteca - Southern Arizona to central Guerro

Taxonomic Note

The jaguarundi was recently reclassified, taken out of the Herpailurus genus and placed in the Puma genus.

  Print References

  • Alderton, David. Wild Cats of the World. Blandford: United Kingdom, 1998.
  • Nowak, Ronald. Walker’s Carnivores of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 2005.
  Online References

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