Margay adoption comes with:
The fee for adopting an animal is based on a 3 month contribution to provide food, heating and enclosure maintenance, animal husbandry costs and veterinary fees for your favourite animals. You will also be assisting ongoing conservation projects at Exmoor Zoo.
You will receive
- An adopters certificate
- A complimentary zoo admission ticket for two people to visit the zoo (value £29.90 as of 2019)
- A name plaque in our tunnel of fame for one year
- A photograph of your favourite animal
- Periodic zoo news updates
Any individual Zoo Animal can be adopted, but this is limited to 4 adoptions per year (one adoption per person for each 3 months of the year - maximum of 4 per year).
If this is a gift please note this in delivery instructions and use the delivery address to send the adoption package to.
The margay (Leopardus wiedii) is a small wild cat native to Central and South America. A solitary and nocturnal cat, it lives mainly in primary evergreen and deciduous forest.
Until the 1990s, margays were hunted illegally for the wildlife trade, which resulted in a large population decrease. Since 2008, the margay has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because the population is thought to be declining due to loss of habitat following deforestation.
In his first description, Schinz named the margay Felis wiedii in honour of Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied who collected specimens in Brazil.
The margay is very similar to the larger ocelot in appearance, although the head is a little shorter, the eyes larger, and the tail and legs longer. It weighs from 2.6 to 4 kg (5.7 to 8.8 lb), with a body length of 48 to 79 cm (19 to 31 in), and a tail length of 33 to 51 cm (13 to 20 in). Unlike most other cats, the female possesses only two teats.
Its fur is brown and marked with numerous rows of dark brown or black rosettes and longitudinal streaks. The undersides are paler, ranging from buff to white, and the tail has numerous dark bands and a black tip. The backs of the ears are black with circular white markings in the centre.
Most notably the margay is a much more skillful climber than its relative, and it is sometimes called the tree ocelot because of this ability. Whereas the ocelot mostly pursues prey on the ground, the margay may spend its entire life in the trees, leaping after and chasing birds and monkeys through the treetops. Indeed, it is one of only two cat species with the ankle flexibility necessary to climb head-first down trees (the other being the clouded leopard, although the poorly studied marbled cat may also have this ability). It is remarkably agile; its ankles can turn up to 180 degrees, it can grasp branches equally well with its fore and hind paws, and it is able to jump up to 12 ft (3.7 m) horizontally. The margay has been observed to hang from branches with only one food.
The margay is distributed from the tropical lowlands in Mexico through Central America to Brazil and Paraguay. In Mexico it has been recorded in 24 of the 32 states, ranging northward up the coastal lowlands and Sierra Madres as far north as the US border states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas in the east and southern Sonora in the west. The southern edge of its range reaches Uruguay and northern Argentina. It inhabits almost exclusively dense forests, ranging from tropical evergreen forest to tropical dry forest and high cloud forest. Margays have sometimes also been observed in coffee and cocoa plantations.
The only record from the USA was collected sometime before 1852 near Eagle Pass, Maverick County, Texas and it is currently considered extinct in Texas. Fossil remains of margays have been collected in Pleistocene deposits in Orange County, Texas along the Sabine River and it is believed to have ranged over considerable portions of southern Texas at one time.
Fossil evidence of margays or margay-like cats has been found in Florida and Georgia dating to the Pleistocene, suggesting that they had an even wider distribution in the past.