Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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Felix...trying to be a margay (Keiley)


Meet Felix, the youngest (and by far the cutest) of our arboreal predators. He is now 5 months old and growing fast. Margays are known for their sleek, slender bodies and graceful movements through high trees and very agile movements along thin, narrow branches. Unfortunately, Felix was absent when these skills were being given out. He is like a herd of elephants crashing through his cage at the moment. He is a hilarious character, full of beans, jumping from perch to perch at top speed. Cats don’t always land on their feet, as he has proved when he tumbles off of onto the floor. He does have a ferocious side at times, growling and hissing, chewing on my feet and toes.

He is particularly aggressive at meal times, and does not like to share, often snatching the food out my hands. To help him learn to eat and hunt, I hide his food at random points around his cage so he has to look for his food as opposed to just presented it in his bowl. Anytime an unfamiliar person comes near him, he hisses and spits at them. He doesn’t like people coming near me; I think it’s a protective thing as he still sees me as his mum. He is getting to the age now where I have to take a step back and lessen the interaction, which is hard after 5 months, but this is necessary for him to be able to develop the skills he needs in the wild. He has a very healthy appetite although he is not yet able to kill his own prey, he still thinks of hunting as a game and seems more interested in playing with the fur of his food instead of killing it, but he is only young and we encourage the interest he has in the fur of prey as it helps to develop crucial senses he will need when he is able to kill his own prey.

He has almost lost all of his baby fur, although he still has a few matted patches where his adult fur is trying to grow through. His teeth are nicely developed - I have the scars to prove this!!! Even though he is only playing when he bites and scratches, his teeth and claws are designed to tear and rip prey apart so war wounds come with the job. He is now spending more time on the perches we have built for his cage, so hopefully he will begin to be more refined in his movements and less destructive. He still has a lot of growing up to do and needs to develop a lot more skills to allow him to thrive in the wild, and it is my job to aid this as much as possible by adapting the man-made habitat he is currently in. Felix is fast out growing his current baby cage, and we need to get him into a larger enclosure, like the other 2 margays. Being in a larger enclosure will give him more space to burn off some of that extra energy, and also allow him to spend more time off floor in the branches and perches - key to his future release.

The building of Felix’s new cage is somewhat costly, and at the moment, we don’t have all the funds needed to complete this, as there are other priorities. Felix needs all the help he can get so if anyone feels they are able to help him progress along his journey towards release, please visit our website at www.wildtracksbelize.org and click on our donate button - but ensure you send an email stating you wish your donation to go to little Felix. Many thanks and my next entry will give you more of an insight into Taz . . . . .


Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-04-10 10:57:53   [Link to this article]

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