Possibly the most elusive cat in the world.
The Pantanal Cat is perhaps the most elusive cat in the world. For this reason it is rarely seen, has been hardly studied and there is very very little available information on this small cat. In fact until recently it was thought to be a subspecies of the Pampas Cat, not a species unto its own. The Pantanal Cat is currently distributed throughout the middle of the South American continent. It can be found in Southeast an Central Brazil, Paraguay, Northern Argentina and Uruguay. The Pantanal cat is thought to prefer grass and shrub land but has been seen in savannas, swamps and deciduous forest.
The Pantanal Cat can be best described as an over-sized domestic cat with interesting markings. With a length of 60cm and a weight of 5kg it is thought to be incredibly acrobatic. With long slender limbs it resembles the Ocelot in stature, even if it does not have such a beautiful coat. It follows that these two cats are closely related, being among the larger of the Leopardus genus family. As so little is known about these cats, their method of hunting and prey on which they hunt can only be guess work. Due to its body size and shape, we can however, make fairly accurate predictions. It is thought that it preys mainly on small mammals such as rodents and rabbits and would also be agile enough to catch birds.
The reproductive cycle of a Pantanal Cat is unknown and offspring are rarely seen. South America is home to many larger predators, mostly cats, that will kill and prey on Pantanal Cats given the chance. The Pantanal Cat can be recognised from its almost entirely rusty-brown coat with faint dark spots on the flanks, a whitish throat, two dark lines on either cheek, black stripes on legs and chest, black feet and a black tail.
So few Pantanal Cats are seen in the wild that it is thought the numbers of this small cat species is small, its current endangered status being vulnerable. Loss of habitat and more competitors being squeezed into a smaller area, are no doubt contributing factors to this cat’s bleak survival prospects. I would ask you to please do anything you can to help ensure the future of larger better known cats. By adopting a Jaguar for example, you will be helping to protect the environment in which the Pantanal Cats also reside. Thank you.