(Last Updated On: December 22, 2023)

The Gulf Coast jaguarundi is an inhabitant of the jaguarundi, scientific name Herpailurus yagouaroundi. Two of those populations—the Gulf Coast jaguarundi and the Sinaloan jaguarundi—are thought endangered and have been placed on the endangered checklist on June 14, 1976.

Gulf Coast jaguarundi cats are positioned beneath the household Felidae and the subfamily Felinae due to their small dimension.

As of 2017, the Cat Classification Taskforce of the Cat Specialist Group doesn’t recognize any subspecies of the jaguarundi.

Gulf Coast jaguarundi Description

This Gulf Coast jaguarundi cat is bigger than a standard home cat, however smaller than a cougar. It has been in comparison with a weasel and otter.

The fur of the Gulf Coast jaguarundi is of a dark-brown or grayish coloration as a result of they reside in low-light areas resembling forests and thick shrubs. Their otter-like look is proven by their brief legs and lengthy, flat tails.

The weasel-like look stems from having a small, flat head, brief, spherical ears, and an extended slender physique.

Their physical dimension can attain as much as 77 centimeters (30 in) and their tail as much as 60 centimeters (24 in) in size. Their common weight is about 6 kilograms (13 lb).

Habitat and distribution

The Gulf Coast jaguarondi ranges from southern Texas in the US south to Veracruz and San Luis Potosí in jap Mexico.

The Gulf Coast jaguarundi cat seems like a big weasel or otter with a coat in one among three coloration phases: black, reddish-brown, or brownish-gray.

Darker varieties are typically present in darker locations, like forests than those that are lighter in hue, which desires more open areas. It may be discovered within the Western Gulf coastal grasslands, Tamaulipan Mezquita, and Tamaulipan matorral. 

Its most popular habitat are areas of dense, thorny scrub, particularly close to water, composed of crops resembling Spiny Hackberry (Celtis pallida), Brazilian Bluewood (hookeri), Desert Yaupon (cuneifolia), Berlandier’s Wolfberry (Lycium berlandieri), Lotebush (Ziziphus obtusifolia), Texas Goatbush (texana), Whitebrush (gratissima), Catclaw Acacia (Senegalia greggii), Blackbrush Acacia (Vachellia rigidula), Velvetleaf Lantana (velutina), Texas Lignum-vitae (Guaiacum angustifolium), Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens), Elbowbush (angustifolia), and Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana). Habitat loss is the primary motive for the rise in mortality for the jaguarundi. Not sufficient info has been gathered concerning the jaguarundi, and since these animals aren’t broadly studied their significance is unclear.

Many individuals stay unaware of this species’ existence, which is contributing to the extinction of the animal.

Gulf Coast jaguarundi

Gulf Coast jaguarundi Evolution

The jaguarundi is carefully associated with the cougar, despite the fact that it’s only 10% of its dimension; that is confirmed by its comparable genetic construction and chromosome depend.

Each species are genetically nearer to the bigger felids; their chromosome numbers are 38, much like the jaguars, whereas smaller felids have 26 chromosomes.

The jaguarundi and cougar are labeled as a part of the genus Puma however the jaguarundi is typically labeled beneath Herpailurus, a distinct genus. In response to a, the study of Felidae, an ancestor of the puma genus migrated throughout the Bering land bridge into the Americas about eight to eight and a half million years in the past, and that’s how to present populations of jaguarundis and cougars within the Americas got here to be. Research has proven that the closest relative to each of the jaguarundi and cougar is the trendy cheetah of Africa and Western Asia.

The connection of the cheetah to the jaguarundi continues to be being debated. One principle is that the ancestors of the cheetah separated from the Puma lineage within the Americas, and migrated again to Asia and Africa.

One other thought is that the cheetah diverged from the lineage in Asia and Africa. Additionally, it is hypothesized that the evolution of the jaguarundis happened as a result of a remoted inhabitants of cougars started specializing in small prey to keep away from competitors with bigger predators like jaguars, saber-tooths, and lions.

Research recommends that cougars often take smaller prey than jaguars and that there’s not plenty of overlap in their decisions of prey.

In some locations with scarce prey out there, the ancestral inhabitants of cougars might have been compelled to hunt even smaller prey, and this led to the eventual formation of smaller animals, the jaguarundis.

Gulf Coast jaguarundi

Gulf Coast jaguarundi reproduction

The mating season for the jaguarundi is believed to be within the months of November and December.

A feminine jaguarundi’s being a pregnant cycle, or gestation interval lasts about 70–75 days. At the time of start, the feminine can have anyplace between 1–4 kittens, every weighing 4–7 kilograms.

Like their relative, the cougar, the kittens between the ages of zero and 12 weeks can have spots on their coats; nonetheless, around month 3 or 4, the kittens’ spots are misplaced.

At 6 weeks of age, the cats will start consuming strong meals, often rodents. Shortly after, they go away to their moms, and inside 2–three years, obtain sexual maturity.

Their life expectancy may be very spectacular, starting from 16–22 years in captivity. Within the wild, its longevity is roughly 10–15 years, a feat most attributable to their well-protected den.


The jaguarundi has a carnivorous food plan. The animals they hunt are typically comparatively small animals.

Small mammals, birds, frogs, and fish are a couple of the wide range of prey that the jaguarundi feeds on. These cats might have been tailored to consuming all kinds of animals due to the shortage of meals.


Not too long ago, it has been prompt by some environmentalists that the jaguarundi, and plenty of different fauna distinctive to Southern Texas, will likely be severely threatened if a proposed 16-foot wall is constructed alongside segments of the Mexico–United States border.

Gulf Coast jaguarundi

Conservation efforts

As categorized by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature, the Gulf Coast jaguarundi is presently endangered, so conservation efforts are being carried out by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

As a federal governmental company inside the U.S. Division of the Inside devoted to the administration of fish, wildlife, and pure habitats, the company has proposed steps to take to reestablish jaguarundi populations, however, it has to date failed to satisfy a lot of them.

A few of these steps embody assessing habitat and land connectivity to assist viable populations, creating survey methods to determine their standing and higher perceive their ecological and conservation wants, and creating partnerships to assist promote jaguarundi conservation.

The largest menace to the Gulf Coast jaguarundis is the Mexico–U.S. border fence because it fragments populations and prevents migration.

Moreover, jaguarundis are going through habitat loss, so the Fish and Wildlife Service is planting shrubs and crops present in a jaguarundi’s pure atmosphere within the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

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