Kodkod (guiña)

One of the smallest cats, native to central and southern Chile-Argentina

Mauro Tammone

This small wild cat is distinguished by its striking coat, which can range from gray-brown to reddish-brown and is adorned with stripes and dark spots across its tail and body. The Kodkod’s physical characteristics are perfectly adapted to its environment; it possesses a small head, a thick tail, and notably large feet, which are not just a distinctive trait but also a functional adaptation for climbing. These large feet, equipped with sharp claws, allow the Kodkod to excel in an arboreal lifestyle, navigating the trees with ease.

By nature, Kodkods are arboreal animals. They spend a significant amount of their time in the trees, climbing to find shelter from predators and the elements and gain a vantage point for spotting potential prey from above. Despite their preference for the canopy, Kodkods are also known to venture into open terrain, particularly under the veil of darkness. This nocturnal activity suggests a strategic adaptation to avoid larger predators and possibly to exploit prey that are more active at night.

Kodkods exhibit a flexible pattern of activity, being both diurnal and nocturnal. They often seek refuge and rest in the dense vegetation found in ravines, which provides both concealment and protection. As carnivores, their diet is quite varied and includes reptiles, birds, large insects, and small rodents. This dietary diversity reflects the Kodkod’s adaptability in terms of hunting and its role as a predator within its ecosystem. Occasionally, the Kodkod’s search for food leads it to prey on domestic poultry, which unfortunately results in conflicts with humans. Farmers, in an effort to protect their livestock, often retaliate against these small cats, leading to a significant threat to their population.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Argentina
2014
Chile
2014

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No