Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

ANDEAN CAT FACTS

The Andean cat is one of the least known and rarest of all felines; almost all that is known about them comes from a few rare observations in the wild.  It is thought that fewer than 2500 individuals exist.


HOW ARE ANDEAN CATS CLASSIFIED?

Living things can be organised into different groups.  Species that are alike are grouped together.  This is called classification

Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Species: Leopardus jacobita

ANDEAN CATS ARE SPECIAL

Andean cats are about the size of a domestic cat, weighing up to 5.5kg, although they appear larger due to their very long tail and thick fur.  They are silvery-grey in colour, with a white underside and numerous dark spots and stripes.

DISTRIBUTION

The Andean cat has a sparse distribution in the high Andes mountains in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

Map showing distribution of the Andean Cat

Andean cat distribution, Andean cat facts

HABITAT

Andean cats live high above the tree-line at altitudes of over 3500m in rocky, arid and sparsely vegetated areas.

DIET

The Andean cat has been observed hunting mountain chinchillas and viscachas (rodents closely related to chinchillas). It is possible that they may hunt other species, such as birds, reptiles and other small rodents.

ADAPTATIONS

This small cat has an acute sense of hearing, which may assist it in hunting.

BEHAVIOUR


Current reports from sightings and radio-tracking indicate that activity is mainly in the early hours of the morning or after dusk.

SOCIETY


The Andean cat is possibly a solitary species, although adults have been seen in pairs.

REPRODUCTION

Its is thought that the Andean cat gives birth between October and April. Only 2 litters have been observed and these contained 2 cubs.

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