The adaptable Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola) occurs in a variety of habitats at all altitudes across South America. It is often confused with other Leopardus small spotted cats as its coat can be patterned, however the variety with the plain coat is unique to this species. As with most Latin American cats, Pampas Cats were hunted extensively for the fur trade in the past and nowadays loss of habitat due to human expansion is the primary threat to their continued survival.
Quick Facts about Pampas Cats
~ Wide range habitat types South America ~
~ Variable coat from plain to patterned ~
~ Pointed v rounded ears of other Leopardus cats ~
Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola) Classification
The Pampas Cat belongs to the genus Leopardus and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Pampas Cat species (Leopardus colocola) is as follows:
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)
Family: Felidae (cats)
Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)
Species: Leopardus colocola (Pampas Cat)
Update 2017: As per the revised Felidae taxonomy – the correct spelling of the Latin name is Leopardus colocola (previously colocolo).
Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola) Subspecies
The global conservation status for Pampas Cats is Near Threatened (NT) and populations are declining. Three species and eleven subspecies of Pampas Cats have been recognized in the past:
- Leopardus colocolo colocolo
- Leopardus colocolo wolffsohni
- Leopardus pajeros pajeros
- Leopardus pajeros budini
- Leopardus pajeros crespoi
- Leopardus pajeros crucinus
- Leopardus pajeros garleppi
- Leopardus pajeros steinbachi
- Leopardus pajeros thomasi
- Leopardus braccatus braccatus
- Leopardus braccatus munoai
However the latest taxonomic revision (2017) found insufficient genetic evidence for species differentiation and proposes one species with seven subspecies and reverts to the original spelling colocola:
- Leopardus colocola colocola - central Chile west of the Andes
- Leopardus colocola wolffsohni - north Chile west of the Andes
- Leopardus colocola pajeros - Argentina
- Leopardus colocola budini - north-west Argentina, Bolivia east of the Andes
- Leopardus colocola garleppi - south Colombia, Ecuador, Peru east of the Andes
- Leopardus colocola braccatus - south-west and central Brazil, Paraguay
- Leopardus colocola munoai - Uruguay
Pampas Cat Conservation & Research
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of the smaller cats of Latin America:
Please support these organizations with their important work. No matter how small or large your donation, every bit helps!
Pampas Cat Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Pampas Cats:
- Pampas Cat Fact Sheet - International Soc. for Endangered Cats (ISEC)
- Pampas Cat Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive
Books on Neotropical Cats
Read more about the wild cats of Central and South America in the publications below.
Currently there is no publication in print dedicated to just the cats of the Leopardus family, however the latest information on them can be found in these fascinating books covering all wild cats.
View more books about wild cat species.