Pampas Cat

Leopardus munoai

©Felipe Peters

Standard English Name

Uruguayan pampas cat

Scientific Name

Leopardus munoai

Brazilian common name/s

Gato-palheiro, gato-palheiro-pampeano, gato-palheiro-dos-pampas

Conservation status - IUCN

Physical Description

Is a small cat that weighs 3 to 4 kg, with a total length of 60 to 100cm. This species has long fur with coat colours ranging geographically from orange red to gray with irregular stripes on the sides of the body and legs. It presents a strip of longer hair that runs from the head to the base of the tail, which bristles when the animal feels threatened.

Ecology and Habitat

The species occurs from the Andean areas of Peru through the more temperate portions of South America, including the Pantanal and central Brazil. It is usually associated with habitats with open vegetation, but can also be found in forested areas. Generally they have crepuscular and nocturnal patterns of activity.
Pampas Cats feed on small mammals and terrestrial birds.

Threats and Conservation

Hunting for its fur and the destruction of forests are the main threats to this species. In addition, little is known about the biology of this species, which limits the ability to generate effective conservation strategies. IBAMA classifies this species as threatened with extinction.

General information

Average values with minimum and maximum in parentheses

Body / tail length (cm):

51,7 (38-62)a / 29,4 (24-34) a



Weight (kg) / Height (cm):

3,8 (3,7-4) a / -

Living area (km2):
Number of puppies / Gestation (days):


Longevity (years):
Social structure:


Activity pattern:

Night and twilight

a Nascimento et al. 2020

Online links

IUCN redlist ( presents a synthesis of current knowledge about distribution and conservation status.

IUCN Cat Specialist Group species accounts (descrições das espécies de felinos selvagens):


Bou N., Cuyckens G. A. E., González E. M. & Meneghel M. (2019) Conservation planning in Uruguay based on small felids (Leopardus spp.) as umbrella species. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, DOI: 10.1080/01650521.2019.1669421.

Garcia-Perea R. (1994) The pampas cat group (Genus Lynchailurus Severtzov, 1858) (Carnivora, Felidae), a systematic and biogeographic review. American Museum Novitates, 3096:1-36.

Indrusiak C. B. & Eizirik E (2003) Carnívoros. In: Fontana C. S., Bencke G. A., Reis R. E. Livro vermelho da fauna ameaçada de extinção no Rio Grande do Sul. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS.

Kitchener A. C., Breitenmoser-Würsten Ch., Eizirik E., Gentry A., Werdelin L., Wilting A., Yamaguchi N., Abramov A. V., Christiansen P., Driscoll C., Duckworth J. W., Johnson W., Luo S.-J., Meijaard E., O’Donoghue P., Sanderson J., Seymour K., Bruford M., Groves C., Hoffmann M., Nowell K., Timmons Z. & Tobe S. (2017). A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN/ SSC Cat Specialist Group. Cat News Special Issue 11, 80 pp.

Migliorini R. P., Peters F. B., Favarini M. O. & Kasper C. B. (2018). Trophic ecology of sympatric small cats in the Brazilian Pampa. PloS one, 13(7). e0201257.

Nascimento F.O. (2010) Revisão taxonômica do gênero Leopardus Gray, 1842 (Carnivora, Felidae). (Ph.D. Dissertation). São Paulo, Instituto de Biociências da Universidade de São Paulo.

Nascimento F. O., Cheng J. & FEIJÓ A (2020) Taxonomic revision of the pampas cat Leopardus colocola complex (Carnivora: Felidae): an integrative approach. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, XX, 1–37.

Peters, F. B., Mazim, F. D., Favarini, M. O., Soares, J. B., Oliveira, T. G. (2016) Caça preventiva ou retaliativa de felinos por humanos no extremo sul do Brasil. In: Castaño-Uribe C., Lasso C. A., Hoogesteijn R., Diaz-Pulido A. & Payán E. (Eds). II. Conflictos entre felinos y humanos en América Latina. Serie Editorial Fauna Silvestre Neotropical. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH), Bogotá, D. C., Colombia.

Queirolo D., Almeida L. B., Beisiegel B. M. & Oliveira T. G. (2018). Leopardus colocolo. In: Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade. (Org.). Livro Vermelho da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção: Volume II – Mamíferos. Brasília: ICMBio. p. 333-336.

Tirelli F. P. (2017) Análises ecológicas de duas espécies de felídeos (Leopardus geoffroyi e L. colocolo) em áreas antropizadas da Savana Uruguaia. (Ph.D. Dissertation). Porto Alegre, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul.

Trigo T. C., Fontoura-Rodrigues M. L. & Kasper C. B. (2013) Carnívoros Continentais. In: Weber M. M., Roman C., Cáceres N. C. (Orgs.) Mamíferos do Rio Grande do Sul. Editora UFSM. Santa Maria.

Learn more about Brazilian carnivore species