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Margay

(Felis wiedii)

Margay (Felis wiedii) Margays are probably the most nocturnal of all the cats of Belize. Known as the "tiger cat" in Belize, the margay lives most of its life in the canopy of the tropical forests. This small cat is perfectly adapted for life in the trees - it is the only cat with ankle joints that can rotate sufficiently for it to climb headfirst down vertical trees.

Being an excellent climber, the margay feeds on arboreal prey such as rats, squirrels, opossums, monkeys and birds. The margay's eyes are very large and, shine extremely bright at night. Margays are very secretive, and prefer the more remote and dense sections of forests in Belize. Because of this, margays are rarely seen.

Margays do not adapt well to human disturbance of its habitat and require about 16 square kliometers of dense forest area. This cat is listed as an endangered animal, though the status of its population throughout its range from Mexico to Argentina is unknown. Belize is thought to have one of the healthier populations of Margays in Central America.

Key Facts

Size
Length: 2 feet + 18" tail
Weight: 5-8 lbs.

Breeding
Reach Maturity: 12-18 months
Mating: Every two years for females
Gestation: 76-84 days
No. of Young: 1-2 cubs (50% mortality rate)

Lifestyle
Habitat: Mature forests.Solitary.
Food: Arboreal animals, birds, reptiles, insects
Lifespan: 10 years in wild, but up to 24 years in captivity

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