“Tree dwelling cats at the zoo”

Are cats ground hunters or do they live in trees? If they really are tree dwellers then out of all the cats in the world the margay is perhaps the best suited for the arboreal life! There are only two species of cat that have ankles that can rotate through 180 degrees allowing the margay to climb down a tree as easily as up!

A nocturnal denizen of the vast Amazon forest the strange thing about this cat is that it is disappearing fast due to deforestation! It can only live in areas where it’s bigger competitor the ocelot does not! Specialising in hunting rodents it needs a combination of bush and tree habitat. This cat has been both witnessed chasing smaller monkeys through the canopy and stalking mice on the ground!

Exmoor zoo is just one of six zoos in the UK to be part of the European breeding program. There are just 41 individuals kept in 15 zoos throughout Europe! Our male was born in Jihlava zoo in the Czech Republic and the female was born at Rotterdam zoo!

An extremely pretty cat this has been their downfall as they were severely hunted for their pelts in the past and have still not begun to recover from this. Scientists reckon margay kittens only have a 50% survival rate and as they only breed once a year and are fertile for about 6 years of their life it is very difficult for them to quickly expand their numbers in the wild!


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