What do jaguarundis eat?

The jaguarundi mainly feeds on prey weighing less than 1 kilogram such as rodents, birds and reptiles. Sometimes they eat larger animals such as armadillos, opossums and rabbits. As an opportunist hunter they may even take fish when and if the chance arises. They take what is available which explains why the proportions of prey items in their stomach of scats varies a lot. Although by volume mammals make up the largest part of this cat’s diet.

Jaguarundi in Peru
Jaguarundi in Peru.
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Jaguarundi, like domestic cats, eat grass. Almost half of Venezuelan jaguarundi had small amounts of grass in their stomachs. These were roadkill animals. In 11% of Belize jaguarundi fruit was part of their diet.

In the Cockscomb Basin, Belize from a sample of 47 scats (stools) the following prey items were present in the percentages shown:

  • Common opossum 13%
  • Rice rat 15.2%
  • Big-eared climbing rat 15.2%
  • Harvest mouse 8.6%
  • Cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) 47.7%
  • Black rat 8.6%
  • Small birds 21.7%
  • Arthropod reptiles (reptiles with an external skeleton) 71.7%
  • Fruit 10.8%
  • Minimum number of vertebrate prey items 60%

In Venezuela, from a sample of 23 stomachs the following prey items were present in the percentages shown:

  • Rice rat 4.3%
  • Can mouse 4.3%
  • Cotton rat (Sigmodon lastoni) 13%
  • Cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) 4.3%
  • Unidentified rodents 8.7%
  • Cottontail rabbit 13%
  • Small birds 60.9%
  • Domestic animals 8.7%
  • Reptiles 65.2%
  • Grass 47.8%
  • Minimum number of vertebrate prey items 42%

The jaguarundi does most of its hunting during the daytime and most of its prey are on the ground when attacked. This also applies to the birds referred to in the lists above (substantial percentages) because the species are those that spend time foraging on the ground.

Source: Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist pages 115, 117 and 118. If you need specific reference please leave a WP comment and I’ll oblige.


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