Ten Amazing Small Wild Cats

Forget the lions and tigers, these prowling felines have much more to tell us about the natural world

A serval kitten. (© Anup Shah/Corbis)


The margay is among the many small, spotted cats of Central and South America, but this nocturnal hunter has a clever ability that hasn’t yet been seen in any of its neighbors.

Margays are adept at hunting among the rainforest trees, where they try to nab anything from frogs to squirrels. But the cat is also capable of setting a trap. A 2009 study reported that a margay mimicked the call of a small monkey called a pied tamarin to lure the primate closer. The cat’s attempt was foiled that time, but the fact that the margay tried to fool the monkeys shows that it’s a very clever kitty.


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