Tayra (Eira barbara)

Photo by Marie Hale

The Tayra is found in a variety of forest types in the neotropical forests of Central and South America. They are genetically close to the Martes genus, and are adapted for an arboreal lifestyle just like true martens.(1) 


The tayra has the longest limbs in relation to its body of the mustelids. In colouration, tayras usually have dark brown to black fur; which is relatively uniform across the body, limbs, and tail, except for a yellow or orange spot on the chest. Albino or yellowish individuals exist, but they are not as common.(2)


An omnivore, the tayra is fond of juicy fruit, but is also an effective hunter; killing prey up to the size of a small antelope. They are known to hunt rodents, small mammals, birds, lizards, and invertebrates; also climbing trees to get fruit and honey.(2)(3)

Size: 56 to 71 cm (22 to 28 in) in length.
Weight: 2.7 to 7.0 kg (6.0 to 15.4 lb).
Range: From the northern half of South America to southern Mexico.
Conservation Status: Least Concern

  1. Proulx, Gilbert, and Keith B. Aubry. “The” Martes complex”–an opportunity to bring together marten, fisher, sable, wolverine, and tayra biologists.” Canadian Wildlife Biology & Management 3.1 (2014): 30-33.
  2. Presley, Steven J. “Eira barbara.” Mammalian species 2000.636 (2000): 1-6.
  3. Galef Jr, Bennett G., Russell A. Mittermeier, and Robert C. Bailey. “Predation by the tayra (Eira barbara).” Journal of Mammalogy 57.4 (1976): 760-761.

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