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Wild Animals/black jaguarundi in clearwater, florida


Hello,   I have a 501c cat rescue in Clearwater, Florida and place my cats at Petsmart out of animal control.  A few weeks back I saw a black cat near my condo building, late at night, and it weighed about nine pounds if that.  It resembled a weasel...something to do with the mouth...and looked frail and hungry.  For a week I searched the internet to determine what the black cat might be and ironically my neighbor, who also owns cats, saw the very same animal!  We both agreed the 'jaguarundi' fits the bill.  I have been putting cat food under a distant tree near the woods each night and the jaguarundi is eating it.  I wonder if this is a bad idea?  I think the animal is ill and might need a litte reinforcement.  I'm just not certain how and when to taper off.   Thank You,  Bonnie of Clearwater, Florida

Dear Bonnie

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

It is usually best not to feed wild animals, unless there is some reason why it is difficult for them to obtain food, such as when people put food out for birds in winter. Wild animals can come to associate food with people and may tend towards waiting for food to be provided for them, rather than searching for their own food. They may lose their wild instincts ( There can also be problems when some people don't provide food, as the animals may react violently. I can't find any cases of jaguarundis attacking humans, but as they have sharp teeth and claws, there is always the possibility.

If the jaguarundi is ill, it may be best to contact local wildlife rehabilitors or refuges. The following websites may help:; and

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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