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Geoffroy's Cat[1]
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Leopardus
Species: L. geoffroyi
Binomial name
Leopardus geoffroyi
(d'Orbigny & Gervais, 1844)

Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is probably the most common wild cat in South America. It is the about the size of a domestic cat. Its fur has black spots, but the background colour varies from region to region; in the north, a brownish yellow coat is most common. Farther south, the coat is grayish. Melanism is quite common both in the wild and in captivity.

Geoffroy's Cat primarily preys on rodents, small lizards, insects, and occasionally frogs and fish; it is at the top of the food chain. Although it appears to be plentiful, some conservationists are concerned because Geoffroy's Cat is hunted extensively for its pelt.[3]

Geoffroy's Cat is about 60 cm (24 in) long, 31 cm (12 in) tall and weighs only about 2–4 kg (4–9 lb), though individuals up to 8 kg (18 lb) have been reported. There have been attempts to breed this cat with domestic cats, but with very little success. Pregnant females appear to take extra care in choosing where they give birth to their kittens. Geoffroy's Cat kittens develop very quickly and at about 6 weeks they are fully mobile.

The species inhabits the Andes, Pampas (scrubby forest parts), and Gran Chaco landscape.

Etymology

The Geoffroy's Cat is named after the 19th century French zoologist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire who identified Geoffroy's Cat as a different species when he studied his work as a professor of zoology in Paris, France.

Subspecies

  • Leopardus geoffroyi geoffroyi; Central Argentina
  • Leopardus geoffroyi euxantha; Northern Argentina, Western Bolivia
  • Leopardus geoffroyi leucobapta; Patagonia
  • Leopardus geoffroyi paraguae; Paraguay, Southeastern Brazil, Uruguay, Northern Argentina
  • Leopardus geoffroyi salinarum; Northwestern and Central Argentina

References

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 538. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.  
  2. ^ Lucherini, M., de Oliveira, T. & Acosta, G. (2008). Oncifelis geoffroyi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 22 march 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is near threatened
  3. ^ "Indian Tiger Welfare Society". http://www.indiantiger.org/wild-cats/geoffreys-cat.html. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
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