Although you may think that the closest relative to the Mountain Lion is the African Lion, in reality that title goes to the jaguarundi, a small (up to 9 kgs) cat with a long slender body and rather weasel-like proportions found in southern US, Mexico, and Central and South America. Jaguarundis were formerly classified as a separate genus of cats, Herpailurus, but genetic testing revealed them to be the closest living relatives to mountain lions, so close in fact that they were included in the same genus, Puma. Unlike mountain lions, however, jaguarundis are harmless unless harassed, feeding on fish, small birds, rodents and lizards. They are nocturnal and very rarely seen.


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