Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is found from the Andes eastward from southern Bolivia, Paraguay, and southern Brazil to the southern tip of South America, These cats are found in a wide range of temperate and subtropical habitats from sea level to 3300 m in the Andes. The diet is known to include small rodents, cavies, tuco-tucos, Coypu, birds, fishes, and frogs. In a study in southern Chile, remains of the introduced European Hare were found in more than 50% of feces examined. Geoffroy's Cats forage mostly on the ground, but they are known to be good swimmers and also hunt in the water. They have been observed carrying hare carcasses into trees. Available data indicate that they are mainly nocturnal, with peaks of activity around sunset and sunrise, resting during the day in hollows and tree cavities as well as in dense ground vegetation. They are believed to be mainly solitary, like most felids.
In captivity, gestation period varies from 62 to 76 days (usually 70 to 74). Litter size varies from one to three and kittens weigh 65 to 90 g at birth. Young develop slowly compared to domestic kittens. Weaning begins around seven weeks and the young are nearly as large as their mother by six months. In captivity, both males and females become sexually mature at around 18 months, although there are records of sexual activity as early as 9 to 12 months.
Trigo et al. (2008) documented a narrow hybrid zone (initially identified by Eizirik et al. 2006, cited in Trigo et al. 2008) between Geoffroy's Cat and the closely related Oncilla (L. tigrinus) where their mostly allopatric ranges overlap in southern Brazil (the Oncilla is found roughly from Costa Rica to southern Brazil and northeastern Argentina, but its current distribution is not completely known and may be discontinuous, mainly due to the lack of detailed evidence of its occurrence throughout the Amazon basin). Based on mtDNA analyses, the Geoffrey's Cat and Oncilla lineages are believed to have diverged around 1 million years ago.
Although detailed information about the ecology of Geoffroy's Cat is limited, it is believed to be the most common South American felid. In the past it has been heavily exploited for its pelt (more than 250,000 were sold in 1979-80, but international trade has declined since the early 1990s).
(Trigo et al. 2008 and references therein; Sunquist and Sunquist 2009 and references therein)
- Eizirik, E., C. Indrusiak, T. Trigo, et al. 2006. Refined mapping and characterization of a geographic contact zone between two Neotropical cats, Leopardus tigrinus and L. geoffroyi (Mammalia,
- Felidae). Cat News 45: 8-11.
- Sunquist, M.E. and F.C. Sunquist. 2009. Geoffroy's Cat (Felis geoffroyi). P. 147 in: Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A., eds. Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Trigo, T.C., T.R.O. Freitas, G. Kunzler, L. Cardoso, J.C.R. Silva, W.E. Johnson, S.J. O'Brien, S.L> Bonatto, and E. Eizirik. 2008. Inter-species hybridization among Neotropical cats of the genus Leopardus, and evidence for an introgressive hybrid zone between L. geoffroyi and L. tigrinus in southern Brazil Molecular Ecology 17: 4317-4333