Margays are small cats that live in the lush forests of America. These slender cats spend nearly all of their lives in the tree tops, rarely touching ground. They are active at night, searching through the branches for food, which ranges from small tree-dwelling mammals, such as marmosets, to insects and fruit.
Margays are very acrobatic climbers. They use their long tails to help them balance, and their broad, padded feet give them a good grip on flimsy branches. Margays are unique among cats because they can twist their hind feet right round so they face backwards.
Like most cats, margays live alone, defending large territories from intruders. They do, of course, pair up briefly with mates for breeding, but the males leave the females before litters are born. Breeding takes place throughout the year and most litters have one or perhaps two cubs.
Distribution: Central America and Amazon Basin.
Habitat: Tropical forest.
Food: Birds, eggs, lizards, frogs, insects and fruit.
Size: 46-79 cm (18 – 31 in); 2.5 – 4 kg (5.5 – 8.75 lb).
Maturity: 1 year.
Breeding: Single cub or twins born once a year.
Life span: 10 years.
Margays can climb down tree trunks head-first like squirrels, or hang upside down with the claws on their reversed hind feet embedded in tree bark.