March 24, 2016
Continuing with the blog post from last month (link), we will now introduce you to the 3 small cat species that inhabit the lowlands of Manu National Park.
Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)
The Ocelot is the largest of the small cats found in the Amazon Rainforest (their full distribution ranges from southern US to Northern Argentina), and it is also the most abundant one in this ecosystem. It has many local names such as ‘Tigrillo’, ‘Ocelote’, or ‘Jaguarete’. Even thought it is technically abundant, it is not commonly seen on our regular walks. In order to maximize your chances to see one, ask your guide to do a couple of night walks to search for them on the trails around the Lodge. While we can’t guarantee anything, this is your best shot at finding this elusive cat.
The following video shows an Ocelot foraging a grassland, as recorded by the NGO Panthera, in Brazil.
Margay (Leopardus wiedii)
The Margay is extremely similar to the Ocelot; however, it is a bit smaller. Besides being smaller, the Margay is also a lot slimmer, has bigger and less spots, has a longer tail, and a smaller head with two disproportionally big eyes. A fun fact about the Margay –which explains why it is hardly seen- is that it is an arboreal species. It is simple astonishing how agile and well adapted these cats are for their life in the canopy.
There have been reports of a Margay sleeping in our Canopy Tower by our Cleaning Crew, 50 meters away from the ground!
If you wish to get blown away by how agile these cats are, please check the following video:
Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi)
The Jaguarondi is the rarest of the cats found in the Amazon. With its long body and short legs, it is usually confused with the much more common Tayra (Eira Barbara), or even with a Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis. This little known cat is widely distributed in a variety of environments, and is rare in all of them. Over the years we have only seen it a handful of times, normally crossing the trail in front of us.
An interesting fact about the Jaguarundi is, that it is the only other member of the genus ‘Puma’, along with the aptly named Puma, or Cougar, which was described in our previous blog post about the big cats of Tambo Blanquillo.
Watching the following video will give you a glimpse of this rare cat, as recorded from a camera trap. Once you see the video, it is easy to understand why it is often confused with a Tayra, or an Otter.
This blog was meant to give you an introduction to the small cats of the Amazon Rainforest.
If you wish to have the opportunity (we can’t guarantee anything) to see this, as well as an array of other amazing natural spectacles, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will make sure you have the trip of a life time!