The jaguarundi is a small cat species native to Central and South America, extending from Argentina to the southern United States. It has a narrow head, a slender body, and a long tail.
The wild cat grows up to 2.3 feet and weighs as much as 20 pounds, roughly double the size of a domestic cat. They also purr and chatter like birds.
It stands on stubby legs, which keeps it close to the ground as it walks across various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and swamps.
The diurnal cat hunts birds, reptiles, and even fish during the day and rests at night. In fact, Central American natives used to employ them to contain splurging rodent populations around villages.
The jaguarundi’s “otter-like” features
It’s no surprise that the jaguarundi is sometimes called the otter cat. Its small flattened head, round ears, forward-facing eyes, tiny snout, elongated tail, and solid coat give it the appearance of a weasel.
Like otters, Jaguarundis are deft swimmers and climbers, and their coats are typically brown or black, although some reports indicate sightings of red pelage.
Some people think jaguarundi resemble mini-pumas, as they are, in fact, related to the genus Puma.
The reclusive and elusive cat sits on the endangered list of species — studies suggest that the United States wants to reintroduce them. The last recorded sighting of Jaguarundis was in Brownsville, Texas, in 1986.