What is the rarest, most endangered, and a little known wild cat in the world? The Andean Mountain Cat!
Let’s take a peek at this fascinating feline.
Did You Know?
The Andean Mountain cat lives in South America high up in the Andean mountain range. Their habitat consists of arid to semi-arid areas from 9,843 to 13,123 feet (3,000 to 4,000 m) above the timberline – a region that is very rocky with small scrub bushes. This wild cat can also live in high mountain grasslands with wet grassy meadows.
The Andean Mountain Cat grows up to 12 pounds (5.5 kg) and has thick fur and a long tail. They can range in color from ash-grey to pale silver with orange-brown or hazel stripes and spots. Their legs and tail have black rings around them.
These cats are very agile and excellent hunters, using their long tails to give them balance on the steep, rocky terrain. They hunt mostly the mountain chinchilla and viscacha (a type of rodent). The Andean Mountain Cat will also dine on reptiles, birds, rabbits, and small mammals.
Can the Andean Mountain Cat hear you? Yes! Their well-developed sense of hearing helps them hunt these wild rodents.
Even though the Andean Mountain Cat has a superb hearing, it can’t roar as lions do. This is because they have small hard bones in their throats that are close together, so they can only produce vibrations. They mew, growl, and even scream, instead.
That’s One Endangered Feline!
The Andean Mountain Cat is endangered, and no one knows how many are left in the wild. However, it is believed that fewer than 2,500 adults exist in the wild today.
This wild cat may be endangered due to habitat loss and hunting by humans for their pelts. There is also a reduction in their primary source of food, which could be leading to their dwindling numbers.
What do you think of the Andean Mountain Cat? Tell us in the comments section!
Categories: Big Cats