Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Habitat: Mexico through South America
Margays are small wild cats native to Central and South America. At one time, they may have lived in the southern United States, but now only fossils remain. In their current territories, they were hunted illegally. Now, they face decreasing numbers due to habitat loss. These cats are reclusive and there is still not much known about them. Very few margays even live in captivity.
While they typically only reach about 8 pounds, they often confused with their larger cousins, the ocelot. They do live in the same regions as the larger cats, but margays are very different. Margays are solitary and nocturnal, and spend most of their time in the trees. They have ankles that can rotate 180 degrees to help them climb headfirst down trunks. Their huge eyes help them see at night when they are most active and hunting their prey of small animals.