About animals

Andean cat


Oreilurus jacobita - Saltar a navegación, búsqueda? Gato andino Estado de conservación ... Wikipedia Español

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Oreilurus jacobita - ... Wikipedia

Oreilurus - Bergkatze Bergkatze Systematik Überfamilie: Katzenartige (Felo> Deutsch Wikipedia

Oreilurus jacobitus - Bergkatze Bergkatze Systematik Überfamilie: Katzenartige (Felo> Deutsch Wikipedia

Oreilurus - Chat des Andes Chat des Andes ... Wikipédia en Français

Bergkatze - Andenkatze Andenkatze (Leopardus jacobita) Systematik Überfamilie: Katzenartige (Felo> Deutsch Wikipedia

Andenkatze - Bergkatze Bergkatze Systematik Überfamilie: Katzenartige (Felo> Deutsch Wikipedia

Leopardus jacobitus - Bergkatze Bergkatze Systematik Überfamilie: Katzenartige (Felo> Deutsch Wikipedia


Andean cats weigh about 4 kg. The coat is thick, with a length of 40 to 45 mm on the back. The color of the coat is light gray or ashy with uneven reddish spots. Noticeable red spots extend from the back to the sides of the animal and hind legs, while black ones are present on the forepaws, muzzle, chest, and tail. The belly is light in color. The tail is thick and long, on which there are from six to nine dark brown rings. In some individuals, the tip of the tail may be white. The nose and lips are black, and the area around the eyes and nose, the chin and cheeks are white. Dark streaks run from eyes to cheeks. The spots on young individuals are more numerous, and the rings on the tails are much narrower than in adult cats. With age, the number of spots decreases, and the color of the coat becomes lighter. Sexual dimorphism has not yet been observed. The body length ranges from 577-850 mm, and the tail is about 70% of the body length or 410-485 mm. Their auditory bullae are greatly expanded.

Andean cats are often mistaken for pampas cats (Leopardus colocolo)who also live in the Andean mountains.

The difference between Andean and Pampas cats

Andean catFeaturePampas cat
2/3 of the total body length. Thick and dull with 6-9 wide rings.Tail1/2 of the total body length. Thin and conical with 9 thin rings.
Maximum ring width: 60 mmTail ringsMaximum ring width: 20 mm
Distinctive lines on the sides of the eyes. Rounded tips of the ears.MuzzleIf lines are present, they are brown and less catchy. Many individuals of this species have triangular ears.
The blackNoseLight color, usually pink
Yellow and red, or gray and blackWool colorCream, red, red and black
One drawingPictureThree different pattern variations
Uniform coloring with the main colorEar colorPatterned colored ears
The rings are not closed, the stripes look like spots.Front legsTwo rings or more are clearly defined, they are wide, black


Andean cats (Leopardus jacobita) found in the mountainous regions of the Andes of southern Peru and Bolivia, in northern Chile and northwestern Argentina. The range of cats may consist of small areas where their potential prey lives - mountain chinchillas and mountain whiskeys.


Andean cats live in the arid and semi-arid regions of the high Andes mountains. Preferred habitats are usually located at an altitude of 3000-4000 meters above sea level. This area is very rocky, covered with bumps and shrubs. They are also found on high mountain pastures with wet, grassy meadows and various shrubs.


No information on the breeding of Andean cats has been officially documented, due to the limited number of observations in the wild. Their close relatives, Pampass cats, breed from April to July. The litter size of Pampass cats ranges from 1 to 3 kittens, and they reach puberty at the age of two years. This information may be similar to Andean cats due to their close relationship.

There is no information about parental participation in raising offspring. However, like most cats, females probably take care of the cubs and feed them until they reach independence. Most species of cats teach their young to hunt.

Life span

There is no accurate information on the lifespan of Andean cats in the wild. An individual of this species, which was kept in captivity, lived for only one year. There is no other additional information about the life cycle of Andean cats. A closely related species, the Pampass cat, has an average life expectancy of nine years in the wild, but can reach the age of 16.5 years in captivity. This data may be similar to Andean mountain cats.


Andean cats are believed to be mostly nocturnal, although they can be active throughout the day. They are very flexible when they hunt for their primary prey (mountain chinchillas and mountain whiskeys). These cats carefully explore the area in search of prey. During hunting, the tail is often held high in the air. The long tail of Andean cats plays an important role in maintaining balance and dexterity while hunting in rocky mountainous terrain. From a few recorded observations, Andean cats seem lonely and fear the presence of humans.

This little cat has a keen ear, due to well-developed eardrum, which can help while hunting. This adaptation is characteristic of animals living in arid areas.


It is not clear whether the rarity of the Andean cat is a natural phenomenon or is associated with human actions. Skins of this species were seen in local markets, sometimes animals were killed by shepherds who carry weapons with them. There are no records of international trade in this species. Therefore, it is believed that the hunt for Andean cats is primarily carried out to protect local livestock. A common threat to the whole world - the destruction of the habitat, does not work here, since in the highlands of the Andes there have been no significant changes in land use over the past 2000 years. In any case, in these regions the human population has declined. It is possible that the Andean cat population declined due to hunting for mountain chinchillas and mountain whiskeys, which naturally have focal distributions.

Security status

Andean mountain cat is a very rare and elusive cat species. As of 2001, the population was less than 2500 animals. According to the International Red Book, Leopardus jacobita is assessed as an Endangered Species, and is also listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Andean mountain cat is now protected in its entire geographic range.

In Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, this type of cat is protected by law from commercialization, trade and hunting. A decrease in the abundance of their primary production probably contributes the most to such a low population.

Andean cat spread

Andean cats, one of the rarest species of the cat family, is common in South America. The most common species is in the Andes, where the range begins in the south of Peru and continues to the south-west of Bolivia and north-west of Argentina. The animal usually chooses for life areas at altitudes of 3000-5000 m above sea level, above the line of trees and always near sources of drinking water.

Each state where the Andean cat lives has introduced a number of laws to protect this rare species; hunting in them is prohibited in many territories. The exact size of the population is currently unknown. In the Red Book, the species is listed as endangered.

Natural Andean Cat Enemies

The reasons for the rarity of Andean cats have not yet been established. Perhaps this is a natural phenomenon, and maybe the result of human activity. Skins of this species are noticed in the markets, sometimes shepherds kill cats. At the same time, Andean cats were never commercially traded. Therefore, the hunt for them is associated primarily with the protection of local livestock.

A common threat to many animal species is habitat destruction, but in this case it does not work, since no significant changes have occurred in the highlands of the Andes in recent centuries. And the human population in these places has even become smaller. A possible reason for the decline in the Andean cat population is considered to be the hunt for mountain chinchillas and whiskeys with which it eats.

Since, according to the assumptions, the population of this species is very small, it is under the protection and protection of many countries. All trade in products made from Andean cats is prohibited.

Interesting facts about the Andean cat:

  • Andean cats are the rarest cats in South America, and the least studied. Outwardly, it is very reminiscent of many of its relatives, including domestic cats, from which it is distinguished by fluffy spotted fur, which is typical for a leopard or snow leopard.
  • The main threats to the population of this species include: reduction of prey populations (chinchillas and other rodents), hunting and stalking by people, destruction of natural habitats. The main one is the version that the number of the species is reduced due to a decrease in the number of mountain chinchilla, which makes up most of the diet of Andean cats.
  • Residents of countries such as Peru and Chile often set traps and come up with various tricks in order to catch and tame Andean cats. But this is an extremely difficult task. The animal seeks refuge in inaccessible mountain ravines, and its special structure of the auricles helps to capture even the weakest rustles and immediately run away. This animal is very secretive and non-contact.
  • Andean cat is very hardy, active day and night. The animal is prone to constant wanderings and movements, it is very difficult to keep track of it, and even more so to observe regularly.
  • In the world there are about 2500 individuals of Andean cats. They practically cannot be trained, therefore they are not recommended to be kept in captivity. Thus, artificial breeding of the species at this stage is not possible, and in order to preserve it, one should take care of the natural population.
  • Andean cats are not kept in zoos and are not sold. The species is included in the Red Book, is strictly protected in all countries where it is distributed.