Geoffrey’s cat is a wild cat in the southern and central regions of South America. It is about the size of a domestic cat. While the species is relatively common in many areas, it is considered to be “near threatened” by the IUCN because of concern over land-use changes in the regions where it lives.
Geoffrey’s cats inhabit the Andes, Pampas (scrubby forest parts), and Gran Chaco landscape. They are found from southern Bolivia to the Straits of Magellan, at elevations ranging from sea level up to 10,800 feet. They prefer open woodland or scrubland habitats with plenty of cover, but are also found in grasslands and marshy areas, Although they are able to climb trees, they rarely do so, except to leave feces to scent mark their territory.
Although it appears to be plentiful in central regions, including Bolivia, where it is the second most common cat after the ocelot, it is considered to be endangered in regions such as southern Chile. The IUCN currently lists the species as “near threatened” because of the concern over habitat conversion in many countries in the cat’s range. From the 1960s to the 1980s, Geoffrey’s cats were hunted extensively for their pelts. Legislation introduced in the late 1908s made hunting and domestic trade of their pelts illegal in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Geoffrey’s cats are nocturnal, and prey primarily on rodents, hares, small lizards, insects, and occasionally frogs and fish. It is at the top of the food chain in its range. Like other small cats, it is a solitary hunter, regularly contacting others of its species only during the mating season. Females maintain territories ranging from 0.77 to 2.3 square miles, while males have larger ranges, reaching up to 4.6 square miles.
Facts | Photo © Ian Gedge