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Geoffroy's Cat


'''Geoffroy's Cat'(Leopardus geoffroyi'') is probably the most common wild cat in South America. It is the about the size of a domestic cat. Its fur has black spots, but the background colour varies from region to region; in the north, a brownish yellow coat is most common. Farther south, the coat is grayish. Melanism is quite common both in the wild and in captivity.

This feline preys primarily on rodents, small lizards, insects, and occasionally frogs and fish; it is at the top of the food chain in its range. Although it appears to be plentiful, some conservationists are concerned because Geoffroy's Cat is hunted extensively for its pelt.

Geoffroy's Cat is about 60 cm (24 in) long, 31 cm (12 in) tall and weighs only about 24 kg (49 lb), though individuals up to 8 kg (18 lb) have been reported. Pregnant females appear to take extra care in choosing where they give birth to their kittens. Geoffroy's Cat kittens develop very quickly, and at about 6 weeks they are fully mobile.

The species inhabits the Andes, Pampas (scrubby forest parts), and Gran Chaco landscape.

Recently, Geoffroy's Cat has been successfully bred with the domestic cat, resulting in the felid hybrid Safari Cat.

Etymology

Geoffroy's Cat is named after the 19th century French zoologist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772-1844). Following his travels to South America in the early 1800s, Saint-Hilaire studied the cat while a professor of zoology in Paris, and identified five subspecies, based on geographic dispersement.

Subspecies

Leopardus geoffroyi geoffroyi; Central Argentina

Leopardus geoffroyi euxantha; Northern Argentina, Western Bolivia

Leopardus geoffroyi leucobapta; Patagonia

Leopardus geoffroyi paraguae; Paraguay, Southeastern Brazil, Uruguay, Northern Argentina

Leopardus geoffroyi salinarum; Northwestern and Central Argentina

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Geoffroy's Cat


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