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Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia
Sub-class Theriiformes
Infra-class Holotheria
Order Information
Superorder Preptotheria
Order Carnivora
Sub-order Feliformia
Family Information
Family Felidae
Sub-family Felinae
Genus Information
Genus Leopardus
Species Information
Species L. tigrinus
Synonyms Felis tigrinus
Subspecies L. t. guttulus
L. t. oncilla
L. t. pardinoides
L. t. tigrinus
Population statistics
Conservation status Vulnerable[1]

The tigrillo (Leopardus tigrinus) is a small wild cat native to the forests of Central and South America.


Also known as the little spotted cat, tiger cat, or oncilla, the tigrillo is up to 36 inches long (including tail) and weighs up to 6.6 pounds, roughly the size of a domestic cat. The fur base coat is light brown above a paler underside; some individuals are a darker brown to ochre. Dark brown to black spots mottle the coat, with some arranged in large rosettes.


  • Leopardus tigrinus guttulus; central to southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, northern Argentina
  • Leopardus tigrinus oncilla; Costa Rica to western Panama
  • Leopardus tigrinus pardinoides; western Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
  • Leopardus tigrinus tigrinus; eastern Venezuela, Guyana highlands, northeastern Brazil

Based on studies it has been determined that the subspecies L. t. guttulus is in fact a distinct species; researchers made the determination based on evidence of a lack of gene flow between L. t. tigrinus and guttulus in the wild. Eduardo Eizirik, a researcher at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, proposed the scientific name Leopardus guttulus be given to the new species.[2]


Tigrillos are rarely seen, even in areas where they are known to occur; camera-trap evidence points to a density of five animals or less per 100 kilometers within known areas, while in the Amazon basin it is rare for one per 100 kilometers to be recorded<>http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/11510/0<>. During the past century many were slaughtered for the fur trade; despite being ended, a small number are taken for their pelts. Habitat loss due to farming and roads have taken a toll. Research also suggests that in areas where the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) does not occur, the average density of tigrillos rises to between 5-20 per 100 kilometers, yet is lower in areas where ocelots frequent.