Have you ever wondered what a wild cat sounds like? Most of you have likely heard the roar of the lion or tiger, while few have heard the tiger chuff. But what about the rest of the world’s wild cats…it’s a mystery to as what they sound like. National Geographic has recently unveiled the small, adorable sound made by the smallest wild cat in the Western Hemisphere, the Chilean güiña, in its Photo Ark project.
More info: National Geographic
This is a Chilean güiña, the smallest wild cat in the Western Hemisphere
Known as a Chilean güiña or Leopardus guigna, this cat is the smallest wild cat found in the Western Hemisphere. Weighing in just under six pounds this cat is half the size of a typical house cat. It is classed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN red list and their numbers are decreasing due to habitat loss.
This tiny cat is only half the size of the usual house cat
Chilean güiñas usually weigh under six pounds
Photographed here is Pikumche—one of eight Chilean güiñas living at Fauna Andina. Fauna Andina is believed to be the only place in the world that has Chilean güiñas in captivity. They are extremely shy cats that are rarely seen and are thus often called “mystery cat that lives in the shadows” by Chilean people.
These cats are extremely shy and have therefore earned the nickname “mystery cat that lives in the shadows”
Despite not many having heard its voice, National Geographic has finally unveiled it to the world in its Photo Ark project
Pikumche was brought to the Fauna Andina when he was found orphaned as a kitten. He is now two and a half years old and sadly can’t be released back into the wild, since he has gotten too used to being around humans. Fernando Vidal Mugica, the founder of Fauna Andina, explained the noises the tiny feline made are “likely expressions of pleasure or excitement” and his meow was because the other güiñas appeared.
You can hear the adorable sound it makes here:
The Chilean güiña had the honor of being featured as the 10,000th animal in National Geographic’s Photo Ark
However, his presence at Fauna Andina has brought some interesting knowledge that was previously scarce around these cats. While it’s extremely rare to hear the sound they make in the wild, Joel Sartore’s project Photo Ark revealed the adorable, crackling voice of Pikumche.
The recording was made at the only place in the world that has Chilean güiñas in captivity—Fauna Andina in Villarrica, Chile