EEC Home Find an endangered species Browse the endangered species list
Little Spotted Cat
Little Spotted Cat

Need more Little Spotted Cat facts?

Featured Creature
Creature Feature: Whale Shark Whale Shark
Although whale sharks are massive, they are generally docile and inoffensive to humans. Whale sharks are even sometimes nice enough to let human swimmers hitch a ride. Learn more about the Whale Shark.
Join the Featured Creature Mailing List

Would you like to receive a notice and link when the new Creature Feature is posted? Enter your e-mail address below:
HTML   Text-only
Privacy Policy

Little Spotted Cat  CAT

Scientific Name:
Leopardus tigrinus

Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Tiger Cat, Felis tigrinus, Tiger Ocelot, Oncilla

Group: Mammals

Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
EN-US FWS: March 28, 1972

VU-IUCN: 2008

Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:
Costa Rica to Northern Argentina

The little spotted cat is a wild cat species found in South America. It is the smallest of the three cats in its genus Leopardus, which includes the ocelot and the margay. Adults weigh only 4 to 8 lbs on average and can only reach up to 25.5 inches long. The tail can reach up to 13 inches long. Males are slightly larger than females. Their coats are typically tan to tawny in color and marked with black-blotchy spots, and there are black rings on the tail. There are also pale markings appearing on the face. The back of the ears are black with a white spot, the fur is thick, soft, and short, and the underparts are white. Although adults have a small frame, they are excellent climbers and hunters.

This species is found in subtropical, humid evergreen and mountain cloud forests. They have also been reported in semi-arid thorn scrub in northeastern Brazil, dry deciduous forests in Venezuela, and also abandoned eucalyptus plantations. They are not commonly seen, and it is believed that they are nocturnal and solitary. Males are territorial and patrol boundaries, and they are even aggressive toward females. Diet consists of small rodents, birds, insects, and reptiles. They have also been observed eating small primates in Brazil. The reproductive behavior of this species is only known through the study of mating pairs in captivity. Females give birth to one to two kittens after a gestation period of 74 to 78 days.

This species is threatened with extinction due to hunting for its fur and deforestation. It is legally protected in several countries, but in others, hunting is still allowed. The habitat of the species is commonly used for coffee plantations, but sightings in deforested areas and abandoned plantations suggest an ability to adjust to human disturbance.

Little Spotted Cat Facts Last Updated: January 24, 2009

To Cite This Page:
Glenn, C. R. 2006. "Earth's Endangered Creatures - Little Spotted Cat Facts" (Online).
Accessed 3/22/2017 at


© 2006-2018 Earth's Endangered Creatures
About EEC   |   Contact Us   |   Disclaimer   |   How to Cite this Page   |   Conditions of Use    |   Privacy/Advertisements    |   Site Map