So, what is the oncilla? The first point to make is that you do not capitalise the name because it is not a proper noun like the name of a place. This is a small wild cat species which lives in Central and South America. People have given this cat various names, which are perhaps more easily understood than the one that I am pronouncing in the audio file below! They are variously: little spotted cat, lesser spotted cat, tiger cat and ‘ocelot cat’ to name some of them. As usual this small wild cat has a beautiful coat and is highly athletic. It is related to the margay (which I have also pronounced!) and the ocelot.
This is how you say ‘oncilla’.
Where you find this cat, you also find the ocelot and the margay. All three are members of the “ocelot lineage” which means that they have evolved along the same path. There are some doubts about the classification of this cat, or at least there were some doubts, because apparently some subspecies do not interbreed. And in a further issue with the classification of the species it has been suggested that oncillas should be classified as two or possibly three distinct species. This reflects the constant discussion about taxonomy. The above assessment was, though, made in 2002 and things may have cleared up since then.
The oncilla is one of the smallest of the South American cats and weighs 1.5-3 kg. It is sometimes confused with the margay. In 2002 little was known about the feeding habits of this small cat and I would doubt that things have improved tremendously since then. I do, though, have a full page and more on this species of cat and they are listed below and therefore I won’t repeat myself here save to say they spend a lot of time in trees but mainly hunt on the ground feeding on small animals such as rats weighing under 100 grams.
SOME MORE ON THE ONCILLA:
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