Head/Body: 22 inches
Tail: 13 inches
The Oncilla, or Tiger Cats, are among the smallest wild cats in South American. They are just slightly larger than the Asian Flat-Headed Cat. The Oncilla opts for high-elevation forests such as in Columbia, where they live in areas above 1,500m.
It has a magnificent coat: tan colored and adorned with symmetrical patterns. They have round eyes with golden irises. They are in part arboreal and use their pronounced long tails to balance during climbing.
An Oncilla's diet consists of primates, rodents, insects, birds and indigenous reptiles. These cats have been studied in coffee plantations. From those observations, it has been speculated that they are more able to cope with human contact than the very shy Kodkods. The male is territorial.
The Oncilla's gestation period is 74 to 76 days, and a cub reaches maturity from six to eight months. Lifespan is about ten to fourteen years in the wild. In captivity, they have lived as long as 23 years. Few are found in zoos, and records indicate they breed poorly in captivity.
The beautiful coat is the reason why they have been a favorite target in South America. Although hunting still persists, it has dramatically decreased due to strict legislation. Decreasing populations still occur however, due to deforestation.