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The Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus jacobita) is a rare wildcat that can be found in - you guessed it - the Andes Mountains of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru.

The Andean Mountain Cat can usually only be found above an elevation of 11,500 feet, which is much higher than the tree line. They are thought to be the small cat analog to the Snow Leopard, in both appearance and habitat. They measure up to only about two feet in body length, with a proportionally-long 19-inch tail. They weigh about 12 lbs. maximum. They have large paws and thick, heavy fur.


Little is known about the Andean Mountain Cat. There are no known individuals in captivity - what information exists about this cat has been gathered from observation in the wild and from pelts. It is estimated that this species is made up of only 2,500 individual animals with a trend toward declination, as its habitat and prey base are slowly lost to human development and activity.

The Andean Mountain Cat's main prey item is most likely to be the mountain viscachas, a species of rabbit found at the same elevation. It's also likely that the chinchilla used to be a main source of prey for the Andean Mountain Cat as well, before its population was decimated due to the fur trade. Because the Andean Mountain Cat's range is spread out over the borders of four countries, different laws are in place to protect it. The Andean Mountain Cat has moved from Vulnerable, to Endangered, to the Red List of the IUCN.


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