Guest Videos: Small Cats of the American Tropics: The Joker

Okay, I made up that nickname for Leopardus colocola, but it’s appropriate for a little feline (with many different looks) that has boffins like the Cat Specialist Group so puzzled, they can’t be sure if there are seven subspecies or none.

Also, the colocolo — or pampas cat — inhabits a wide variety of South American habitats. Still, you might see one in a tropical swamp or mangrove.

You would have to be very lucky, though.

Pampas cats are seldom encountered anywhere in the wild.

All the videos I could find of them come from more temperate places.

For instance, this individual is in northwestern Peru:

The next one, defending itself from a culpeo (one of those South American “foxes”), looks a bit like an Andean mountain cat — sometimes the only way to tell the two cat species apart is by nose color: Pampas cats, pink; Andean cat, black!

Sorry about the music. Per the YouTube note, this happened at an altitude of around 4 km in the Atacama Desert region! Good thing it wasn’t a whole pack.

But this, too, is a pampas cat —

jairmoreirafotografia via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

— and so is this:

ZooPro via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

L. colocola is a joker, all right.

More information:

Some lagniappe, and basically why scientists try so hard to classify pampas cats, and all other living beings:

Some experts call that common ancestor he mentions “LUCA.”

Featured image: R. Alberto Sosa/Shutterstock

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