Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Spanish (1) (learn more)

Overview

Brief Summary

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)

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

The Geoffroy's Cat ranges from southeastern Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina east of the Andes and southern Brazil (below ca 30S), Uruguay all the way to the Strait of Magellan in Chile, from sea level to 3,800 m (Oliveira 1994, Nowell and Jackson 1996, Cuellar et al. 2006, Dotta et al. 2007, M. Da Silva pers. comm.).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Leopardus geoffroyi occurs throughout most of the southern half of South America. This includes Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Patagonia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uraguay. Tge species is widely distributed with the exception of southern Chile, where it is only found east of the Andes (Garman,1997; Nowak, 1999).

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Geoffroy's cat is a small wild cat, about the size of a large domestic cat, with males being larger than females. The head and body length of this cat ranges from 422 to 665 mm, with the tail adding an additional 240 to 365 mm to the total length. It weighs from three to five kg and stands about 30 cm high. Its coat color varies from a silver-grey to a yellowish-brown. The color of the fur varies geographically, with the more yellow forms in the northern part of the species' range, and the more silver colored forms in the south. The fur is marked with a pattern of small, uniformly spaced, dark brown or black spots all over the body. Two black streaks run down each cheek. Melanism is fairly common. The tail is ringed. (Nowak, 1999; IUCN,1996; Garman,1997).

Range mass: 3 to 5 kg.

Range length: 422 to 665 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Described as occurring in a wide variety of habitat types of the subtropical and temperate Neotropics, including scrubby woodland, dry forests and savannas of the Chaco, Patagonian scrub, Monte desert/semi-desert, the Pampas grasslands, marshlands, etc. in both pristine and disturbed areas (Oliveira 1994, Pereira and Aprile 2012). It uses both open and closed habitats, but seems to be more associated with areas of denser cover in the predominately open areas of most of its range. Geoffroy's Cat is distributed throughout the pampas grasslands and arid Chaco shrub and woodlands, and up to 3,800 m in the Bolivian Andes (M. Da Silva pers. comm. 2014). Most of its range is arid or semi-arid (Pereira et al. 2006), but it also occurs in wetlands (e.g. Paran River delta; Pereira et al. 2005). It is not found in either the tropical or temperate rainforests. It is sympatric throughout most of its range with the Pampas Cat (L. colocolo).

In a radiotelemetry study in wet pampas grassland of Argentina, Manfredi et al. (2006) found mean home range size from 2.5-3.4 km, with male ranges 25% larger than females. In Chile's Torres del Paine National Park, in beech forest, home ranges were larger, at 2.3-6.5 km for two females, and 3.9-12.4 km for five males (Johnson and Franklin 1991). In Argentina's Lihue Calel National Park, Pereira et al. (2012) found male home ranges of 2-3 km; whereas females occupied areas of 0.2-0.6 km. Home ranges in adjacent cattle ranches scaled up to 4.4 km for males and up to 3.7-4.9 km for females. During a severe drought period in this same area, six radio-collared cats died of starvation when hare abundance fell from 5.6 to <0.8 per 10 km (Pereira et al. 2006).

Manfredi et al. (2004) found diet to vary by location in Argentina, consisting primarily of small rodent, but including other locally abundant species such as birds. In Chile, rodents and hares were primarily taken (Johnson and Franklin 1991). Plains Vizcachas are also prey (Branch 1995). In southern South America, where Vizcachas have become extinct, introduced European Hares (Lepus europaeus) are the major prey, although densities of both hares and Geoffroy's Cats were observed to decline markedly during a drought period (Pereira et al. 2006). Fish and frog remains were found in the stomachs of Geoffroy's Cats from Uruguay and Brazil (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). Bisceglia et al. (2008) found that small mammals were the most frequent prey of Geoffroys Cats in Lihue Calel, representing at least the 63% of the food items throughout the year.

Geoffroy's Cat is a small solitary felid (4.3 kg), with an average litter size of 1.5 kittens, and predominantly nocturnal activity pattern. It seems to be the most abundant felid of the temperate Neotropics (Oliveira and Cassaro 2005, Lucherini et al. 2006, Pereira and Novaro 2014).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

L. geoffroyi has a widely varied habitat, and occurs from sea level through 3,500 m elevations. It primarily lives along rivers in dense, scrubby vegetation. It has also been found in open woodlands and savannas, marshes and even grasslands, although it avoids open areas. These felids are sometimes arboreal, and a high percentage of its feces is found in trees. They are also very good swimmers (IUCN,1996; Garman,1997).

Range elevation: Sea level to 3500 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: scrub forest

Wetlands: marsh

Other Habitat Features: riparian

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

This felid is a hunter, and not a very picky one. It includes a wide variety of animals in its diet, which is dominated by introduced prey, specifically European hares. It will eat just about any kind of meat it can get a hold of; however its most abundant food items are hamsters and hares. P. geoffroyi hunts in trees and on the ground, and is also known to fish (Novaro,1999; IUCN,1996).

Foods eaten include: birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, rodents, wild guinea pigs, small agoutis, hares and other small mammals.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; fish

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

This cat is very opportunistic in terms of what it eats, so it helps to control small animal populations in the wild. It also has a wide range, so it helps control various populations of small vertebrates over a large portion of South America (Novaro,1999).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Geoffroy's cat has a camoflaged pelage, but this is believed to be primarily for their own benefit as predators (i.e. to hide them from prey, rather than to hide them from predators). other possible adaptations to reduce predation have nit been reported. (IUCN,1996).

Known Predators:

  • humans (Homo sapiens)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known predators

Oncifelis geoffroyi is prey of:
Homo sapiens

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known prey organisms

Oncifelis geoffroyi preys on:
Actinopterygii
Amphibia
Reptilia
Aves
Mammalia

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Not much is known about how this felid communicates. It is likely that, as with other felids, there are some vocalizations and possible some chemical communications between conspecifics. It is likely that tactile and visual communication, especially between a mother and her young, are also present.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

This cat lives about fourteen to fifteen years on average. However, in captivity they can live up to 20 years (Garman,1997 and IUCN,1996).

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
14 to 15 years.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
20 (high) years.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
14 to 15 years.

Typical lifespan

Status: captivity:
14 to 20 years.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 23 years (captivity) Observations: A wild born couple taken to Rotterdam Zoo was both about 23 years old when they died (Richard Weigl 2005).
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Females go into estrus about every twenty days, with estrus lasting two to six days. The mating system of this felid is unknown. However, the home ranges of adult males overlap those of several adult females, but do not overlap those of other males (Nowak, 1999; Garman, 1997; IUCN, 1996). This, coupled with the larger size of males, indicates some level of competetion between males for mates, and therefore some level of polygyny.

Mating System: polygynous

Breeding season for L. geoffroyi occurs from December to May. Females may produce one litter of one to four cubs per year. Geoffroy's cat frequently mates in trees.

The females have a gestation period of 67-78 days. The female gives birth in a den of bushes, a rock crevice, or sometimes even a nook in a tree (Garman,1997). Young weigh 65-123 g at birth. They are born blind, but their eyes open within 8-12 days. They develop quickly. They can stand at about four days old, and by six weeks are fearless climbers. They can walk after two or three weeks. These cats are weaned at 8 to 10 weeks and become completely independent of the mother after about eight months. Sexual maturity is reached between 14 and 24 months (Nowak, 1999; IUCN,1996).

Breeding season: December-May

Range number of offspring: 1 to 3.

Average number of offspring: 2.57.

Range gestation period: 67 to 78 days.

Average gestation period: 65.3 days.

Range weaning age: 56 to 70 days.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 14 to 24 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 21.00 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 14 to 24 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 21.00 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous

The females raise the young. They nurse them until they are about 8 weeks old. After about 8 months, the kittens become independent of the mother. The males are not involved in the rearing of the young (Nowak, 1999; Garman,1997).

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Leopardus geoffroyi

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2015

Assessor/s
Pereira, J., Lucherini, M. & Trigo, T.

Reviewer/s
Nowell, K., Hunter, L., Schipper, J., Breitenmoser-Wrsten, C., Lanz, T. & Breitenmoser, U.

Contributor/s
de Oliveira, T. & Acosta-Jamett, G.

Justification
The Geoffroys Cat is listed as Least Concern because it is widespread and abundant over most of its range. This felid typically ranks first in felid abundance in several habitat types such as the dry forests of the Bolivian Chaco (Cullar et al. 2006) and of the Argentine Espinal (Caruso et al. 2012), scrublands of the Monte (Pereira et al. 2011), relicts of the natural Pampas grasslands (Manfredi et al. 2006), lowland cropland areas of the Andean subtropical forests (Di Bitetti et al. 2011), and grasslands of southern Brazil (Trigo et al. 2013). Its distribution range is considered to be continuous, but it does not occur in the high elevation areas (above 3,750 m) of the Andes. In the northern and central part of its range, this felid appears to have been favoured by the conversion of sub-tropical forests into croplands, while it seem to be tolerant to some degree of habitat alteration produced by livestock management. A recent expansion of its distribution has been documented in northeastern Argentina (Rinas et al. 2014). However, it is considered rare in Chile, mostly because of its limited distribution in this country (Iriarte et al. 2013) and Vulnerable in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (Almeida et al. 2013). Anthropogenic mortality (e.g. road-kills, persecution due to poultry predation) is intense in several areas (e.g., Pampas grasslands) and potential negative impacts from current trends in climate change have been proposed (Canepuccia et al. 2008, Pereira and Novaro2014). A hybrid zone between L. geoffroyi and L. guttulus was identified in southern Brazil where the two species meet (Trigo et al. 2008, 2013b). These studies are currently indicating a possible natural origin for this event. In this case, this hybrid zone will be considered as an eligible process for conservation, by representing an important part of the evolutionary history of these species. However, specific studies are still needed to confirm this and evaluate whether anthropogenic influences such as human-induced changes in habitat or population densities in these areas could be influencing these hybridization events, and thus constituting a threat to these species by compromising their genetic integrity.

History
  • 2008
    Near Threatened (NT)
  • 2002
    Near Threatened (NT)
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

L. geoffroyi is the least protected of all the small cats, having the lowest AZA conservation rank. They are the most common wild cat in South America. However, they are also the most commonly hunted, and population trends are that they are decreasing. IUCN lists the species as Near Threatened, and change the status to Vulnerable if the downward population trend continues. CITES lists the species as Appendix I.

In the seventies and eighties, L. geoffroyi was heavily hunted for fur coats, which was legal at the time. It takes approximately 25 cat skins to make one fur coat. 350,000 skins were exported between 1976 and 1979 in Argentina alone, and over 500,000 total from South America in the early eighties. The fur trade has since declined, but about 55,000 pelts are still traded yearly. However, it is believed that most of these pelts are from cats killed that were pests or threats to livestock populations. Commercial hunting has essentially ceased, but these cats are still considered endangered. Habitat destruction also affects these cats. Not enough time has passed since the hunting has been stopped to determine their status, but they are now fully protected (IUCN,1996; Garman,1997).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
It is relatively common throughout most of its range, although heavy commercial hunting pressure from the 1960s to the late 1980s is believed to have reduced populations (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The species was recently downgraded from Potentially Vulnerable to Least Concern in Argentina (Ojeda et al. 2012). It is considered Rare in Chile (CONAMA 2009), occurring only in small areas in the south and east. In Brazil, where the species inhabits only the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, it is considered Vulnerable (Almeida et al. 2013), although relatively common and abundant in the pampas (T. Trigo pers. obs. 2014). In Bolivia it is considered the second most abundant felid after the Ocelot (Cuellar et al. 2006).

Density estimates include:
Bolivian Chaco (Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park ): 9-40/100 km (Cuellar et al. 2006)
Argentine Monte (Lihu Calel National Park): up to 190-220/100 km (Pereira et al. 2011), including several transient individuals
Argentine Espinal (altered dry shrublands): 45/100 km (Caruso et al. 2012)
Chile (Torres del Paine National Park) 7-12/100 km (W. Johnson pers. comm. in Nowell and Jackson 1996).

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
Large numbers of pelts were exported from South America for the international fur trade from the 1960s to 1980s, but little trade took place after 1988 and the species was upgraded to CITES Appendix I in 1992 (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Cats are still killed as pests or poultry predators, and these pelts may be seen in local illegal trade. Currently, habitat loss and fragmentation, and retaliatory killing remains as the main threats. Potential negative impacts from current trends in climate change have been proposed (Canepuccia et al. 2008, Pereira et al. 2014)

During a health evaluation of Geoffroys Cats (Uhart et al. 2012) at two different protected areas in Argentina (Campos del Tuyu Wildlife Reserve and Lihu Calel National Park), antibodies to infectious peritonitis, feline panleukopenia, canine distemper virus, feline callicivirus, toxoplasmosis and dirofilariasis were found in tested animals. Adult parasites recovered from necropsied animals and eggs in fresh faeces revealed the presence of various nematode families, including Ascarididae, Trichuridae, Capillariideae, Rictulariidae, Spiruridae and Ancylostomatidae; cestodes from families Taenidae and Anaplocephaliidae and oocists of Eimeriidae (Beldomenico et al. 2005). These results suggest exposure (recent or past) to common domestic carnivore diseases, and indicate a potential risk to these Geoffroys Cats.

Human-related mortality accounted for most of Geoffroys Cat deaths recorded on cattle ranches near Lihu Calel National Park, with poaching, predation by dogs, and vehicle collision being the main causes of mortality (Pereira et al. 2010).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Included in CITES Appendix I. The species is fully protected across its range, with hunting and trade prohibited in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay (Nowell and Jackson 1996). It occurs in a number of protected areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Geoffroy's cats are aggressive and have never been fully domesticated, and so they are a truly wild cat. They may also be pests as livestock predators (IUCN,1996).

Negative Impacts: crop pest

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

This species was heavily hunted for its beautiful pelts from the late 1960's into the mid 1980's, and is the most abundant species of spotted cat in the skin trade (IUCN,1996; Garman,1997; Nowak, 1999).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Geoffroy's cat

Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is a wild cat native to the southern and central regions of South America. It is about the size of a domestic cat. While the species is relatively common in many areas, it is considered to be Near Threatened by IUCN because of concern over land-use changes in the regions where it lives.

Physical description[edit]

Geoffroy's cat at the Cincinnati Zoo

Geoffroy's cat is about the size of a domestic cat, averaging 60 centimetres (24 in), with a relatively short, 31 centimetres (12 in), tail. This felid weighs only about 2 to 5 kilograms (4.4 to 11.0 lb), though individuals up to 7.8 kilograms (17 lb) have been reported. In general, those found in the southern part of their range are larger than those from the north, and males are larger than females.[3]

Their fur has numerous black spots, but the background colour varies from region to region: in the north, a brownish-yellow coat is most common; farther south, the coat is grayish. As with most wild cats, the fur of the underbelly is paler, being cream-colored or even white. There are dark bands on the tail and limbs, and similar markings on the cheeks and across the top of the head and neck. The backs of the ears are black, with white spots (ocelli). Melanism is common both in the wild and in captivity.[3]

Unusual among cats, Geoffroy's cats have been observed to stand up on their hind legs to scan the surrounding landscape, using their tail as a support. A similar posture is seen in weasels, meerkats and prairie dogs, but not generally in felines.[3]

Ecology and distribution[edit]

Geoffroy's Cat

Geoffroy's cats inhabit the Andes, Pampas (scrubby forest parts), and Gran Chaco landscape. They are found from southern Bolivia to the Straits of Magellan, at elevations ranging from sea level up to 3,300 metres (10,800 ft). They prefer open woodland or scrubland habitats with plenty of cover, but are also found in grasslands and marshy areas. Although they are able to climb trees, they rarely do so, except to leave faeces to scent mark their territory.[3]

Although it appears to be plentiful in central regions, including Bolivia, where it is the second most common cat after the ocelot, it is considered to be endangered in regions such as southern Chile.[2] The IUCN currently lists the species as "Near Threatened" because of the concern over habitat conversion in many countries in the cat's range.

Geoffroy's cat is nocturnal, and preys primarily on rodents, hares, small lizards, insects, and occasionally frogs and fish;[3] it is at the top of the food chain in its range. Like other small cats, it is a solitary hunter, regularly contacting others of its species only during the mating season. Females maintain territories ranging from 2 to 6 square kilometres (0.77 to 2.32 sq mi), while males have larger ranges, reaching up to 12 square kilometres (4.6 sq mi).[3]

Reproduction[edit]

A Geoffroy's cat kitten

The breeding season for Geoffroy's cats lasts from October to March. During this time, the female comes into estrus for periods of up to twelve days, roughly a month apart. Mating during this time is brief and frequent, often taking place on a high ledge or similar site.[3]

Pregnant females appear to take extra care in choosing where they give birth to their kittens.[citation needed] Litters may consist of one to four kittens, although one or two is more common. Gestation lasts for 72–78 days,[4] with most births occurring between December and May.[5]

The kittens are born blind and helpless, weighing about 65 to 95 grams (2.3 to 3.4 oz), and develop rather more slowly than in the domestic cat. The eyes open after from eight to nineteen days, and they begin to eat solid food at six or seven weeks.[3] Kittens become independent of their mother at around eight months, but are generally not sexually mature until 18 months for females and 24 months for males.

The oldest recorded age for a Geoffroy's cat in captivity is at least 20 years. The melanistic Geoffroy's cat "Nico" has been resident at Big Cat Rescue in Florida since mid July 1994, and is believed to have been born at the start of May 1993, making her currently 21 years and 4 months of age.[6]

Recently, Geoffroy's cat has been successfully bred with the domestic cat, resulting in the felid hybrid safari cat.[7]

Taxonomy[edit]

At Dudley Zoo, England

Geoffroy's cat is named after the 19th century French zoologist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844). Following his travels to South America in the early 19th century, Saint-Hilaire studied the cat while a professor of zoology in Paris, and identified five subspecies, based on geographic dispersement:[8]

  • Leopardus geoffroyi geoffroyi; Central Argentina
  • Leopardus geoffroyi euxantha; Northern Argentina, Western Bolivia
  • Leopardus geoffroyi leucobapta; Patagonia
  • Leopardus geoffroyi paraguae; Paraguay, Southeastern Brazil, Uruguay, Northern Argentina
  • Leopardus geoffroyi salinarum; Northwestern and Central Argentina

Genetic studies have shown that Geoffroy's cat is most closely related to the kodkod.[9] At times it has been placed in the separate genus Oncifelis, together with the kodkod and colocolo, but it is now more commonly placed in Leopardus, a larger genus of small South American cats, which also includes the ocelot.

Conservation[edit]

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Geoffroy's cats were hunted extensively for their pelts for the international fur trade, but little trade took place after 1988 and the species was upgraded to CITES Appendix I status in 1992 .[5] [10] Legislation introduced in the late 1980s made hunting and domestic trade of their pelts illegal in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. International trade in Cites Appendix I listed species is now prohibited, except for non-commercial purposes. [11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 538. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b Lucherini, M., de Oliveira, T. & Acosta, G. (2008). Oncifelis geoffroyi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 22 march 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is near threatened
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Sunquist, Mel; Sunquist, Fiona (2002). Wild cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 205–210. ISBN 0-226-77999-8. 
  4. ^ "Geoffroy's Cat". Indian Tiger Welfare Society. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  5. ^ a b Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. eds. (1996). Wild Cats. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
  6. ^ http://bigcatrescue.org/nico
  7. ^ http://www.savannahcatbreed.com/breed-info/safari
  8. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20090104172437/http://www.lioncrusher.com/animal.asp?animal=51
  9. ^ Pecon-Slattery, J.W., et al. (1994). "Phylogenetic reconstruction of South American felids defined by protein electrophoresis". Journal of Molecular Evolution 39 (3): 296–305. doi:10.1007/BF00160153. PMID 7932791. 
  10. ^ http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/15310/0
  11. ^ http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!