Nicaraguan Wild Felines

It isn’t difficult to understand why the imagination is so easily captivated by cats. Even the common domestic cat has a certain mystery to it – an allure that cannot quite be pinpointed. Their incredible gymnastic ability, suppleness and stealth are all qualities that continue to fascinate mankind. Wild cats are even more intriguing – mainly because so little time is spent in contact with them.

Those who have walked the footpaths of jungles in South America may have once caught a glimpse of a jaguar regarding them cautiously from between the growth – or perhaps they just got the strong feeling that they were being watched. Wild cats can blend in effortlessly with their surroundings and their strength, ferocity and often size makes them worthy of the utmost respect.

Nicaragua is a country that enjoys many wide-open spaces where man and nature often co-exist. The variety in habitat in the area has provided the perfect home for a number of felines for thousands of years and many of these beautiful creatures can still be found in the wilder parts of Nicaragua today. The better known and bigger of these wild cats are probably the jaguar and puma – each of which are better suited to a particular type of wilderness. However, they are certainly not the only type of feline to be found in Nicaragua. Smaller felines take the form of ocelots and margays. Perhaps the most distinctive and unique cat is the jaguarundi.

One of the only cats to not have a contrasting color on the back of their ears, jaguarundi’s have quite an unusual appearance – in fact, people will often mistake their unusual body shape for that of a weasel instead of a cat. Their small heads do not quite suit their somewhat larger bodies while their long, flat tails make the creature look more like an otter from the back than a cat. Their bodies generally reach between 35-55 inches in length and their coats may be black, brown-gray or red-brown. At one time in the past central American natives used to ‘tame’ these cats in order to keep rats away from their villages. However one glance at these fierce looking felines will leave you wondering just how tame these animals became since they clearly have a wild nature and should be let alone.

While it is highly unlikely that you will see any of these beautiful cats in the wild, it never hurts to keep an eye out for them. Keep that in mind the next time you are visiting Nicaragua, especially the more untamed parts..