The jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) or eyra is a small wild cat.
It is native to southern North America and South America.
The jaguarundi occurs from southern Texas and coastal Mexico in the north, through Central and South America east of the Andes, and as far south as northern Argentina.
Its habitat is lowland brush areas close to a source of running water, including dry thorn forest to wet grassland. Occasionally it also occurs in dense tropical areas.
While commonly inhabiting lowlands, it has been reported at elevations as high as 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) above sea level.
The lifespan of a jaguarindi is 10 to 15 years.
A sleek, long-bodied animal, it has small ears, short legs, and a long tail.
The adult measures from 90 to 130 cm (36 to 51 in) in length, including 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in) tail.
It stands 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 in) at the shoulder; and weighs from 4.5 to 9 kg (10 to 20 lb).
The two color morphs were once thought to represent two distinct species: the grey one was called the jaguarundi and the reddish brown one was called the eyra.
The jaguarundi is primarily diurnal, being active during the day rather than evenings or night.
This animal is mostly terrestrial, preferring to hunt on the ground, but it also is a good climber and is comfortable in trees. It is also good swimmer.
The jaguarundi is a carnivore and preys upon fish, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds, including rabbits, mice, rats, junglefowl, and iguanas.
Jaguarundis are solitary animals that socialize only during mating season.
This animal exhibits up to 13 separate vocalizations, used to communicate, mark territory, and find mates.
Jaguarundi breed year round, with no defined mating season. A litter of one to four kittens is born after a gestation period of about 70 to 75 days. The female gives birth to a litter in a den constructed in a dense thicket, hollow tree, or similar cover.
Jaguarundis are not particularly sought after for their fur, but are suffering decline due to loss of habitat.
The jaguarundi is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
The jaguarundi is a smaller relative of the better-known cougar, and has many local names.
In some Spanish speaking countries, the jaguarundi is also called leoncillo, which means little lion. Other Spanish common names for the jaguarundi include: “Gato colorado,” “gato moro,” “león brenero,” “onza,” and “tigrillo.”
Studies have indicated the cougar and jaguarundi are next most closely related to the modern cheetah of Africa and western Asia, but the relationship is unresolved. Ancestors of the cheetah have been suggested to have diverged from the Puma lineage in the Americas and migrated back to Asia and Africa, while other research suggests the cheetah diverged in the Old World itself.