The smallest cat in the West, Kodkod is a little known wild feline of the Andes. A tiny cat, it weighs merely around five pounds and is less than two feet long and one foot tall, with a short tail. Leopardus Guigna it is often spelled as Codcod and called alternatively Guiña, Hûina or Huiña. The rare feline bears a close resemblance to Geoffrey's Cat and Pampas Cat and is considered by some to be a subspecies of the former.
Coloring is in the range of yellow to gray-brown with dark spots and stripes often seen on trunk and limbs. Belly and underside is usually white though all black specimens are often recorded as well. Tail is short and ringed. Feet are large and head is short and wide in proportion to the cat's body size.
As with many of the small, elusive wild cats, detailed behavioral and hunting information is lacking about the Kodkod. It is known to be nocturnal though and a good tree climber. In daytime it is reputed to rest in trees and ground. Some reports suggest that it is not a solitary feline and may well have a social lifestyle like that of lions. Prey animals include small rodents, insects and birds. The larger male Kodkods have been known to take domestic poultry in areas where human settlements are next to the wild cat's domain.
The Kodkod resides in mountainous regions of Chile and Argentina in South America. It lives in dense rainforests, preferring to stay close to water bodies. Two subspecies are recognized, that differ in their geographical location and physical appearance:
Leopardus Guigna Guigna - Southern Chile and Argentina
Leopardus Guigna Tigrillo - Central Chile
Pregnancy lasts around two and a half months for Kodkod after which an average of two babies are born. Lifespan has been known to be up to eleven years.
Numbers in the wild are not well known though it is understood that the cat is quite rare and continually threatened by habitat destruction. Probably very few or no specimens exist in zoos though captive breeding is said to be carried out in certain private programs. The current classification is vulnerable.