Margay cats are probably one of the most beautiful cat breeds amongst them all. They are about the size of a regular house cat, but at the same time are much more dangerous and completely wild. Besides their interesting appearance, they also possess some very special abilities.
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Since Margay cats are arboreal animals, they live in forests. As rare as they are, they can still be found in a tropical evergreen forest, tropical dry forest, and a high cloud forest. Geographically their habitat is in Mexico, north Argentina, Uruguay, Central America and South America. As mentioned before, they spend most of time on trees. Margay cat is a nocturnal animal so it spends most of the day in dark places relaxing and resting. Usually their favorite place to spend the day is deep inside some cave. They wait there for the night to come down so they can go out and hunt until the sun rises again. Once the sun starts rising they immediately start look for another cave or a dark place to hide and sleep or return to the previous one, in case they don’t find a good hiding space, Margays will spend the day on inaccessible branches or clumps of lianas.
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When the night starts, Margay cats slowly start to wake up, and being as stealthy as they can, they walk out of their caves or other dark places that they used to sleep through the previous day, and climb the nearest tree. Once a Margay gets to the branch it feels comfortable with it lowers its posture and patiently waits for the prey to show up. They are known for the fact that they rarely chase their prey. In most cases Margay waits patiently until it sees an animal that will be its supper, once the prey is spotted, Margay uses the element of surprise to jump from a tree and quickly kill its victim.
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Margay cats mostly feed on small animals such as cane rats and guinea pigs, hunting them from trees. But in some cases a Margay cat can be found eating vegetation, but it doesn’t eat vegetation to fulfill its hunger, but to help the digestion. They also feed on squirrels, porcupines, marmosets, sloths, capuchins, opossums and small birds. In order to hunt some of these animals margay needs to get off a tree and look for them on the ground, but as soon as the prey is caught, they return back to the branches.
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Even though Margay cats have a very special and characteristic appearance, they are very often mistaken for their close relatives, Ocelots. They do look quite similar but there are many differences between margays and other breeds of cats. Margays weigh from 5.7 lb to 8.8 lb and are a little bigger than a well fed house cat, but way more dangerous. Their usual length is from 19 to 31 inches and their usual tail length is from 13 to 20 inches. Margay cats use their long tails to balance out their weight on trees. They also have abnormally large eyes, reason for that is their nocturnal nature, in other words the size of the eyes helps the margay with its night time vision. They are also known for their brown fur with dark spots and straps, resembling a little leopard. Margays fur is also very thick.
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Other than its very characteristic and mesmerizing appearance, Margay has a few more key differences separating it from other breeds of cats. Perhaps the most astonishing of all of those differences are the two extremely rare abilities a Margay possesses. First of the two is the auditory mimicry, and the second one is margays incredible agility and their ankle flexibility.
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Mimicry is a very interesting ability some animals are capable of using and it has various forms for various purposes. Mimicry can be used to trick a predator or a prey, and it basically represents a form of disguise. Most animals use mimicry in order to blend in with the surroundings to hide either from a predator or for a sneak attack on its prey, but as we said before mimicry has different forms. Perhaps the rarest form is the auditory mimicry, which Margay cats mastered. To be more specific, Margay cats are capable of imitating a sound some other animal naturally produces.
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As an example of this amazing ability, there has been a reported case of a Margay using auditory mimicry while hunting a Pied tamarin, which is a small monkey. Report explains that there was a group of adult tamarins, and a Margay cat was seen making a sound that resembles the sound that an infant tamarin makes. A group separated looking for the infant and that was the Margays main goal. The plan was to catch one of the monkeys when it gets distant enough from the main group. Even though that specific attack from the report was unsuccessful, it served as a great discovery of this amazing skill Margay cats have. This ability not only makes Margays unique amongst other cat breeds, but also amongst all neotropical predators.
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The other special ability this amazing cat has is the incredible agility and ankle rotation. Margays are most famous for their incredible agility while climbing on trees or jumping from branch to branch. They can easily jump up to 12 feet. With that much power in each jump Margays can easily get on tree or sneak attack their prey. Once a Margay is on a branch it can walk on the upside or it can get beneath the branch and walk on it hanging upside down. Margays were even seen holding on to a branch with only one foot. But the physical ability that separates them from every other animal with legs is the ankle rotation. It can rotate its ankle up to 180 degrees, meaning all of Margays feet can be directed to the opposite side of the moving direction. This ability allows them to be even more agile and to climb down trees head first.
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