The jaguarundi (Felis yagouaroundi) is a feline native to Central and South America and the southern parts of North America. It is sometimes called the "otter cat" because of its unusual shape -- short legs, long body, small head and ears. This is a good body for the dense underbrush in which it prefers to live. Jaguarundis are a uniform brown all over and weigh 6 to 13 pounds; they can climb and swim but hunt mainly on the ground, eating any available small animals and, unusually for felines, also some fruit. They are diurnal but nonetheless hard to study in the wild because of the difficulty of tracking them through their chosen habitat. They are also hunted as poultry killers and threatened by habitat destruction -- they used to be found in much of Texas and Arizona but are now only found in the two southernmost counties of Texas; they are not native to Florida but a population descended from some escaped pets lives in the southern part of the state.

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