Saturday 15 October 2011

Andean Cat Facts

Here are some key Andean cat facts:

The scientific name for this species of wild cat is: Oreailurus jacobitus

The Andean cat is about the size of a large domestic cat and is similar in appearance. It is essentially a tabby and white cat. The fur is long (at 40 mm on the back) and thick. The coat a pale silvery gray. The coat is spotted and striped. The markings are brownish or blackish. The tail is long and bushy and banded with about 7 dark rings.  The bands appear as brown in the photograph below. The legs have 3 rings. The undersides are white with dark spots. One scientist described this cat as being "reminiscent of the snow leopard".

Andean mountain cat - Wikimedia commons file

This cat is extremely rare and rarely photographed. Jim Sanderson PhD has photographed this cat. I believe that the only photos are by him.

The Andean mountain cat as expected lives in the high Andes a mountain range that runs along the western side of South America. Here is an Andean cat range map or Andean cat distribution map:

View Andean Mountain Cat Range 2009 in a larger map

You can click on the blue flags for more detail. This page discusses range further.

The Andean cat lives at elevations above sea level of 3 to 5,000 meters. The landscape is arid and harsh. The climate is cold. Daily temperatures are at or below 0 degrees C.

The prey of the Andean cat is usually small mammals, birds, lizards, rabbits, viscachas and rodents.

This cat is relative tame which has allowed people to closely approach it.

There are no Andean mountain cats in captivity. The conservation or survival status of the Andean cat is "Endangered" as assessed by the IUCN Red List.

It has been persecuted by local people who believe that the cat carries supernatural powers and therefore kill it to harness those powers. There are about 2,000 cats in existence (2009). Hunting of the cat is its worst threat to survival.

Read and see more on this page.

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