By Rani Iyer
Scientific Name: Leopardus wiedii
It’s not a monkey, yet it lives on trees. This creature is a great imitator and mimics the call of other animals. And this creature leaps and chases monkeys and birds on treetops. Can you guess the animal?
Here is another clue. The fur of this creature is honey colored with rows of black rosettes and longitudinal streaks. Did you say a cat? Yes! You are right. This creature is called Margay (Leopardus wiedii).
You can see Margay in rainforests from Mexico to Argentina. Watch out! Like a monkey, the Margay can hang from the branches and climb down head first from trees. It is a small cat, about 4 kg (9 lbs) and 79 cm long (31 inches). The tail has a black tip with many dark bands.
Margay is nocturnal and lives alone. A tired, resting Margay, rests in clumps of lianas that is difficult to climb on. The cat feeds on monkeys, birds, lizards, squirrels, tree frogs, and eggs. Margay comes down to the ground, when moving between hunting areas. When on the ground, they eat cane rats and guinea pigs.
Each Margay requires about 16 square km (6.2 square miles) to live well in the forest. As forests are disappearing, Margay is becoming rare. In the past, Margay was found in Texas. Today they are extinct in Texas. Margay will be lost forever if we don’t save forests or stop hunting them.
Here are some ideas to incorporate Margay in lessons:
Blue and Gold Macaw
Grey Winged Trumpeter
Asian black bear
Black-and-white ruffed lemur
Black-faced spider monkey
Brown capuchin monkey
Capybara [2nd profile]
Eastern Long Beaked Echidna
Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat
Plains Zebra not a rainforest species
South American tapir
South American coatimundi
Leatherback Sea Turtle not a rainforest species
Pygmy stump-tailed chameleon
Giant Chinese Salamander
Gladiator Tree Frog
Green Poison Arrow Frog
Indian Purple Frog
All about Rainforests
May I use graphics from mongabay.com for my projects?
Yes, you may provided that you don't remove the mongabay label from the images. You may use information from the site for class projects and can cite kids.mongabay.com as the source.
Can I interview the founder of mongabay.com for my school project?
Unfortunately due to the large number of requests and the need to work on the main mongabay.com site, Rhett (the person who runs mongabay.com) is not available for interviews. However he has answered some common questions on the Rainforest Interview page.
Do you have any games or activities?
Currently there are a few on the resources page. There may be more in the future.
Who are some scientists who study rainforests?
Take a look at the Interviews with rainforest experts page.
How can I help save rainforests?
Some ideas are listed on the Rainforest Solutions page.
Where can I learn more about rainforests?
There is a wealth of information at the main rainforest site
Simplified version (fewer images and links)