Leopardus – American wild cats

Mini leopard-like, tree-dwelling cats from the Americas

Leopardus is a genus of small cats native to the Americas, spread out over most of South America and the southern tip of the United States of America.

These small cats have spotted fur in brown, yellow, and grey shades. An interesting distinguishing feature between them and other felines is that they have 36 chromosomes instead of the usual 38.

Most are arboreal, finding shelter, protection, and good vantage points for seeking out prey from the high branches of trees. They are carnivorous and primarily nocturnal, often hunting small mammals like rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

Many species are threatened, vulnerable, or endangered due to habitat loss, hunting, and loss of prey.