Weight: 8-15 pounds
Head/Body: 23 inches
Tail: 14 inches
The Andean Mountain Cat is also known as the Andean Highland Cat or Mountain Cat, and little is known of this small felid. The mountain cat is found in the high regions of Bolivia, Peru and Chile, ranging from the dry scrublands lower down the mountains to beyond the tree line at around 16,000 feet. Just like with other cats that hunt at high altitudes, the fur of the mountain cat is longer than most. The base color of the fur varies from grey/brown to a darker reddish/grey and has large dark red irregular spotting. The tail is long and banded with similar dark reddish/brown markings.
The mountain cat is slightly larger than a big domestic cat, growing up to 24 inches in length with an equally long tail that measures 70% of its body length. In common with other species of wild cat that exhibit extra long tails, it is thought that the tail acts as a counterbalance, giving the mountain cat additional balance when moving quickly over rocky terrains.
Due to the remoteness of its habitat, little is known about the hunting and social habits of the mountain cat. Through limited observations, it appears that the main source of prey may be the mountain chinchilla and its close relative the viscacha, which share a similar habitat to that of the mountain cat. However, it is probably fair to assume that additional prey include other small rodents, insects and birds native to its range.
The mountain cat is listed as an endangered species primarily due to its rarity, rather than by pressures bought about by hunting. The mountain cat in listed in CITES Appendix I, and although there are no firm figures regarding numbers in the wild, it is believed to be threatened.