Kodkod - Small Wild Cat of the West
The kodkod (or güiña) is the smallest cat in the western hemisphere weighing about 5 lbs (2.2 kg). It lives in a small region of central and southern Chile and Argentina, in the temperate forests of the low Andes and coastal mountain ranges. It is similar to, but still much smaller than the Asian leopard cat. Then name kodkod comes from an indian tribe in its range.
These little leopards love trees, and typically stay in mature forests with many levels of growth. They can survive in agricultural regions and areas of disturbed forest, but they are becoming less common as their favorite forest habitat is destroyed. They are considered a vulnerable species and there are an estimated 10,000 or so species in the wild.
Kodkods are gray-brown-yellow, with several black spots and some black streaks on their head and shoulders. The tail has black rings. There are many born completely black, a condition called melanism, that occurs with other cat species as well.
Kodkods hunt at night for tree-living mammals, rodents, birds and reptiles. This is the only time the will wander out in the open terrain, during the day they will find a safe nook in the the forest vegetation to rest. They generally stay in a certain range of 0.5 - 1 square mile (1.1 - 2.5 square km). Not very much is known about their social interactions and groups. The cats become sexually mature at the age of two and can live to eleven years old.