Common Name: Tigrillo, is also known as Oncillas

Type: Mammal

Family: Felidae

Range: The wild smallest cat of Costa Rica, Tigrillo or Oncilla is the exceptional and rare. This species can be found in the higher elevations in cloud forests of Costa Rica. It usually lives above 3000 meters. They have been also found in habitats in highland of Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and subtropical forest of Brazil. They are normally distributed from Costa Rica through North Argentina. They are the native of Argentina; Bolivia; Colombia; Brazil; Costa Rica; Ecuador; Guyana; French Guiana; Panama; Peru; Paraguay; Suriname; and Venezuela.

Size: Tigrillos / Oncilla are like small cats. They can reach to a length from roughly 30 to 39 inches long.

Weight: The Tigrillo weigh is ranging between 1.5 and 3 kilo grams (3.3 – 6.6 lbs). They are grayish in color with dark decoration markings with a pale colored underside. These can reach an average height of Ten inches.

Diet: The Tigrillo is solitary and strictly arborical. They are mainly feed on small Birds, Mammals, lizards and small rodents.

Average life span: The average lifespan of Tigrillo is 11 years in wild. However, there are records of that Tigrillo are reaching an age of 17 years.

Habitat: The Tigrillo/ Oncillas cats are available in the Central and the South American forests. Their habitat ranges from the Costa Rica to the northern Argentina. The International Society has declared this cat in Endangered Category. They like to prefer living in the higher places. They are supple tree climbers, and like to live to live higher elevations ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 feet. The Tigrillo inhabits in several different ecosystems in the forest, including the montane cloud forest, subtropical forests, early secondary forests and sharp scrub. They can be seen easily in most of the National parks and natural reserves of Costa Rica, such as SIRENA Biological Station, Corcovado National Park, and Cerro de la Muerte of Costa Rica.

Breeding/Reproduction: After having a gestation period of 74 – 76 days, Tigrillo give birth to 1 to 3 young kittens. (Usually only one)They get sexual maturity at around 2 to 2 ½ years old. Estrus can lasts from 3 to 9 days, older cats are having shorter cycles. The kittens’ eyes open between eight to seventeen days; this is an unusually long period for a cat of this size. The kittens start taking solid food after the period of 38 to 56 days. (big difference compare to the domestic cat), but they are fully weaned at 3 months.

Similar Animals:


The Tigrillos are also known as Tiger Cat, Oncilla. It is a wild cat originating from the South America and Central America. Tigrillos’ have distinctive coats with an array of color and spotting against a lighter background color. That makes them in such high demand in the fur market. The tigrillo coat ranges in color from yellowish-red to grayish-yellow, with the top of their coats darker, giving way to a whiter underbelly coat. Tigrillos are covered in spots, making them look like mini-ocelots. Black ringlets surround their tails, and their faces are spotted with lined eyes. These felines face threats from deforestation.

Although Tigrillos have a small body frame but they are great hunters, preying on small primates, small rodents, birds, reptiles and insects. The tigrillo’s agile and athletic bodies are tailored to climb trees, and they can make movement easily on tree branches. A Tigrillo lives a private life; they sleep during the day and are active during the night. Adult Tigrillos are territorial creatures, habitually becoming very aggressive towards the females. The young Tigrillos communicate by purring, and young adults can make friendly, rhythmic, short calls.

The Tigrillo are Vulnerable according to the (IUCN) classification. The main threats are for their felines and poaching. Tigrillos are killed to get their coats, which have high value and sold for clothing. Reports show that they are among the 4 most hunted in the category of small cats. The other factor involved to Tigrillo transience is human settling at terrain where once they were available for these wild cats. Coffee plantations have also established in tropical and cloud forest habitation has caused the reduction wild cats population.

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