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.
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).