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  The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition

Order Carnivora : Family Felidae : Felis wiedii Schinz

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.