Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobitus)
Andean cats have a pale silver gray body with rust colored spots and stripes. The fur is long and thick. The forelegs and chest are marked with gray bars. The underside is pale with dark spots. The tail is long and bushy with six to nine dark brown rings, and the tip of the tail is sometimes white. There are areas of white around the edges of the mouth, eyes and on the sides of the face. There is a dark stripe running down from each eye. Juveniles have more spots and narrower tail bands. Older cats have less spots and lighter coat. The Andean Mountain Cat is similar to the Pampas cat which is also found in the Andean mountains. Pampas cats have a shorter tail with fewer rings. The bars on the Pampas cat are black and more prominent and the base colour is more yellow brown than Andean mountain cats.
Andean Mountain Cat
Body length: 57cm - 85cm (average 66cm). Tail length: 41cm - 48cm. Average weight 4kg.
Andean cats are found in arid and semi-arid regions of the Andes mountains. They prefer rocky habitat with scattered small shrubs above the treeline at 3000 to 4000 meters. They are also found in high mountain grasslands with wet grassy meadows and shrubs.
Andean cats feed mainly on mountain chinchillas and mountain viscachas. Thy also eat reptiles, birds and other small mammals.
Females produce a litter of one to three kittens.
north west Argentina, south west Bolivia, north east Chile, southern Peru.
The conservation status in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals is "endangered".
Andean Cat on rock in the Andes.
Photograph by Dr James Sanderson. License: GNU Free Documentation License.