New Margay Kitten in Uruguay


A Margay, at Bioparque M’Bopicuá, in Uruguay, gave birth to a beautiful, healthy kitten on November 1st



Margay_MontesdelPlata_4Photo Credits: Montes del Plata/Bioparque M’Bopicuá

The Margay is a small cat that’s native range extends from southern Mexico, through Central America and in northern South America east of the Andes. It is very similar to the larger Ocelot in appearance, although the head is a little shorter, the eyes larger, and the tail and legs longer. The Margay is a more skillful climber than the Ocelot.

The Margay is mostly nocturnal. Their diet consists of small mammals, birds, eggs, lizards and tree frogs. Since their habitat is in forested areas, it has been reported that the cat has the ability to achieve all of its hunting for prey entirely in trees. There have also been reports of Margays using auditory mimicry in an attempt to lure their prey.

Gestation, for the Margay, lasts about 80 days, and generally results in the birth of a single kitten. Kittens weigh 3.0 to 6.0 oz. (85 to 170 grams) at birth. This is relatively large for a small cat, and is probably related to the long gestation period. The young open their eyes at around two weeks of age, and begin to take solid food at seven to eight weeks.

The Margay is listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. Remaining populations are declining due to habitat loss from forest conversions, and, until the 1990s, Margays were hunted illegally for the wildlife trade.

Bioparque M’Bopicuá, operated by Montes del Plata, in Uruguay, is comprised of a fauna breeding centre, an autochthonous flora trail and a historical area of high cultural value: the ruins of a meat preservation plant dating to the 19th century known as the “Saladero de M’Bopicuá.”

The main objective of the 150-hectare Bioparque M’Bopicuá bio-park is to breed wild fauna, especially endangered autochthonous species, and later introduce them to their natural habitats. Since it was established, the bio-park has reproduced and in some cases reintroduced various mammal, avian and reptile species. The current inventory consists of 560 specimens from 54 different species.

Some of the species that have been successfully bred include the Pampas Deer, Pampas Cat, Yellow Cardinal and the Broad-Snouted Caiman. In terms of reintroduction, various species have been freed into their natural habitat, in particular coatis and caimans.

Educational organizations, specialized groups and company employees can visit the Bioparque M'Bopicuá circuit to increase awareness and contact when there are no breeding activities taking place.

In March 2011, the bio-park was admitted as a member of the WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and declared to be of Departmental Interest by the Río Negro government.

Margay Kitten Blends in with Mom at Bioparque M'Bopicuá

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Congratulations to Bioparque M'Bopicuá! On November 10 they welcomed the first-ever Margay kitten to be born at the breeding station. (Incidentally, this is the first Margay we've ever featured on ZooBorns!) Bioparque M'Bopicuá aids wildlife conservation in Uruguay with its protected wildlife reserve and captive breeding programs to supplement wild populations of native animals. 

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4 margayPhoto credit: Bioparque M'Bopicuá 

See a video of mother and kitten:


Margays are spotted cats native to Central and South America, from southern Mexico to northern South America east of the Andes. Larger than house cats, they are active at night and spent most of their time in trees. Margays usually give birth to just one kitten, but very rarely have litters of two. After a gestation period of about 80 days, which is a pretty long time for a small cat, Margays give birth to a kitten that is fairly large but still helpless. Kittens open their eyes at about two weeks old, and begin to eat solid food at seven to eight weeks old. 

Margays are a Near Threatened species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN, the species is at risk due to habitat loss and fragmentation, in addition to hunting for the cat's beautiful spotted fur.