Andean Mountain Cat Ecology and Behavior

This cat is not well known. Of all the wild cats of South America it is one of the least known.

As mentioned in the description section this cat is found in the high Andes. This is a rocky and cold place. The cat lives at altitudes in the order of 3 to 5,000 meters above sea level. The vegetation is sparse and hardy. The temperatures are low.

The Andean mountain cat is believed to feed primarily on mountain viscachas (a type of rodent that looks like a rabbit - see photo below), rabbits, armadillos and rodents. It also feeds on birds, ducks, seed snipes and wading birds. In Peru a survey found that the sightings of Andean cats by villagers corresponded with the presence of viscachas.

The Andean cat has been observed hunting in the daytime but is believed to be crepuscular (dawn and dusk hunter).

Viscachas in Chile - Wikimedia commons
Photo by Alexandre Buisse
It has been possible to get close to this wildcat when observing it. It appears not to have learned to fear humankind. The snow leopard is similar. This makes the cat vulnerable to being killed by local people.
Andean Mountain Cat Ecology and Behavior Andean Mountain Cat Ecology and Behavior Reviewed by Michael Broad on October 15, 2011 Rating: 5

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