Tiger Cat or Oncilla

Tiger Cat or Oncilla

Tiger Cat or Oncilla

Tiger cat is a breed of cat also known as Oncilla. Tiger Cat may also be an erroneous name for the Tiger Quoll.

The Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), also known as the little spotted cat, tigrillo and is a small spotted cat native to montane and tropical rainforests of Central and South America. It is active during the night and in twilight, but has also been recorded during the day. The tiger cat is a close relative of the ocelot and the margay, and has a rich ochre coat, spotted with black rosettes.

The oncilla resembles the margay and the ocelot. But it is smaller, with a slender build and narrower muzzle. It grows to 38 to 59 centimetres (15 to 23 in) long, plus a 20 to 42 centimetres (7.9 to 16.5 in) tail. While this is somewhat longer than the average domestic cat, Leopardus tigrinus is generally lighter, weighing 1.5 to 3 kilograms (3.3 to 6.6 lb).

The oncilla is a primarily terrestrial animal, but is also an adept climber. Like all cats, the oncilla is an obligate carnivore, requiring meat for survival. This cat eats small mammals, lizards, birds, eggs, invertebrates, and the occasional tree frog. Occasionally, the cat will eat grasses. The oncilla stalks its prey from a distance, and once in range, it pounces to catch and kill the prey.

Distribution and habitat
Oncillas are typically distributed from Costa Rica through Northern Argentina, and show a strong preference for montane forest. They are usually found in elevations higher than those of the margay or ocelot. They have been found in habitats as high as 4500m in Colombia, in the Andean highlands in Ecuador and Peru, and in the subtropical forest highlands in Brazil. They have also been identified in cerrado and scrubland environments.

They have been recorded in northern Panama, but the remainder of the country appears to be a gap in the range of the species.

In 2013, the population in southern Brazil was assigned to a new species, L. guttulus, after it was found not to be interbreeding with the L. tigrinus population in northeast Brazil.