- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting an elusive wild cat: the jaguarundi.
The jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) is a small wild cat native to the Americas found in elevations of up to 2000 m and in all types of forests. These cats are capable climbers; although, most hunts take place on the ground. Their preferred food is prey less than 1 kg, mainly rodents. As ocelots also prefer mice and rats, they are the jaguarundi’s main food competitor. As both cats share the same space and resources they are what biologists call “sympatric species.” To avoid competing with each other, jaguarundis hunt mainly during daytime and evening hours, while the ocelot mostly during the night. Jaguarundis have a uniform coloration that differs from other neotropical cats that usually have spots. They have two distinct morphs: red-brown and grey. For many years, people thought the two morphs were separate species; however, it is now known both colors can occur from the same litter. Tell us in the comments if you can spot the two colorations in the video!
Special thanks to WWF-Peru and San Miguelito Jaguar Conservation Ranch for sharing their camera trap footage with us. This footage was taken in Peru and Bolivia, accordingly.
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Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_Castagnino