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Margay in Tree.jpg

A beautifully patterned small cat, somewhat larger than a large house cat, the margay (Leopardus wiedii) varies in colour from tawny yellow to greyish brown, and the coat is marked with rows of dark spots and open rosettes. The head, neck and throat bear black lines, and the backs of the ears are black with a central white spot. The underparts are whitish, and the long, rather bushy tail is marked with dark rings. The fur of the margay is relatively thick and soft, and, unusually, grows ‘reversed’ on the back of the neck, where it slants forwards. The margay shows much individual variation in coat pattern, and a number of subspecies are recognised. The male and female margay are similar in size and appearance. Often confused with the closely related ocelot, Leopardus pardalis, the margay can be distinguished by its smaller size, more slender build, proportionately large eyes, and the longer tail, which, unlike in the ocelot, is longer than the hindleg. The margay can also be difficult to distinguish from the oncilla, or little spotted cat (Leopardus tigrinus), from which it differs by its slightly larger size, its larger, less solid spots, and the backward-growing fur on the neck.

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