As mentioned, this is low (not untypical for wildcats, sadly). Although the Pampas cat, a close relative, is similar in appearance in the high Andes, the Andean cat is much rarer. Apparently, the local people have difficulty distinguishing the Pampas cat from the Andean cat. This may prove important as they are killed sometimes for what can only be regarded in modern times as superstitious reasons (education is the answ er, see below). There is a lower genetic diversity in this cat species compared to the Pampas cat (see Cat Inbreeding Means Poor Sperm
Andean Cat – Photograph copyright Jim Sanderson, Ph.D.
Habitat – Ecology – Appearance
This wildcat is found in arid and sparse land (note the photograph above). The high Andes has no forest. The terrain is rocky and steep. This cat is thought to be solitary but can be seen in pairs. This cat is mainly crepuscular, it seems (active at dusk and dawn and night – in line with domestic cats). This is because its main prey is also crepuscular, the Mountain Vizcacha. As the terrain is sparse and poor in regards to supporting wildlife, the range is probably large (estimated home range of 65.5 km²).
The Andean cat is medium sized, similar in size to the domestic cat. Appearance is as follows:
|Adult length||740 to 850 mm|
|Sub-adult||577 to 600 mm|
|Adult Tail length||410 to 485 mm|
|Tail||Very long (66 – 75% of the head and body length). It is thick and cylindrical, fluffy and with 6 to 9 wide dark brown to black rings. A long tail helps with balance (see also Clouded Leopard)|
|Adult female weight||4.5 kg|
|Fur||Ash grey with brown-yellowish blotches that are distributed as vertical lines at both sides of the body.|
|Juveniles||Lighter color with smaller blotches and more of them.|