|The Mammals of Texas -
Carnivora : Family Felidae : Felis
Description. A small, spotted
cat similar to the ocelot in color and
color pattern but smaller, more slender, and usually with
longer tail; skull seldom exceeding 110 mm in greatest
length. Dental formula as in the mountain lion. External measurements: total length, 862 mm;
tail, 331 mm; hind foot, 112 mm. Weight, 2-3 kg.
Distribution in Texas. The
margay is a neotropical felid that ranges from northern
Mexico to northern Argentina. It is recorded from Texas
on the basis of a specimen taken near Eagle Pass in the
1850s. Eddleman and Akersten found remains of this cat in
Pleistocene deposits along the Sabine River in Orange
County, so a few thousand years ago it ranged over a
considerable part of southern Texas.
Habits. The margay inhabits the
forested areas of tropical America. It is not a common
animal and its habits are not well-known. It is expert at
climbing trees, in which it is likely to be found resting
during the day. The margay spends some of its time
foraging in trees catching birds and small mammals, but
also captures prey on the ground. Very little is known
about its food habits except that the opossum is known to
be included in its diet.
Virtually nothing is known about
reproduction in wild margays. In the wild, gestation is
estimated to be about 70 days, but in captivity it has
been measured at 81 days. Litter size is one or two.