Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus)
Today marks two straight weeks of mammals! How do you like them apples? Also, if you look to the right at today’s mammal’s number, you will see that sometime next week, if we continue on this track, we will complete a year’s worth of “daily” mammals! And it will have taken us less than four years…
Moving right along, my mom requested an oncilla. My three-year-old niece, Rae, has a subscription to National Geographic Little Kids, and with the magazine, you get little punch-out animal trading cards. One of the recent ones pictured the oncilla, which is also known as the little spotted cat, and it is a little spotted cat indeed. In fact, it’s one of the smallest wild cats in the world: it’s only as big as a small housecat, weighing in at about 5 pounds on average. Little ol’ thing!
Oncillas live in Central and South America, ranging in a rather patchy way from Costa Rica down to southern Brazil and eastern Argentina. They especially like forests, including two prettily named kinds of forests, elfin forests and cloud forests. Elfin forests are, apparently, forests where the trees are stunted, perhaps because of wind, dryness, mist, or other climate conditions, and cloud forests are forests covered in fog. The cats are nocturnal and solitary, and we don’t know a whole lot about them.