Scientific Name: Leopardus Pardalis
Size: 28 to 35 in (70 to 90 cm)
Weight: 24 to 35 lbs (11 to 16 kg)
Protection status: Endangered
Top Speed: 61km/h (38mph)
Life Span: 10-12 years
The ocelot, or the painted leopard as it is sometimes known, is a medium sized wildcat, native to the jungles of South America. The ocelot is found as far north as Texas in the United States and there are also large populations of the ocelot in both Mexico and the Caribbean islands.
What does a ocelot look like?
The ocelot has dappled fur that serves as camouflage in the jungles of South and Central America. Twice the size of the average house cat, the ocelot is a sleek animal with a gorgeous dappled coat. These largely nocturnal cats use keen sight and hearing to hunt rabbits, rodents, iguanas, fish, and frogs. They also take to the trees and stalk monkeys or birds. Unlike many cats, they do not avoid water and can swim well. The ocelot tends to be about 1 meter in length with a tail, half the size of the body of the ocelot on top of that. The ocelot has enormous similarities in appearance to domestic cat, with the most noticeable of these similarities being the small sized head of the ocelot. The fur of the ocelot has very similar markings to the fur of a leopard or a jaguar meaning that the ocelot was hunted vigorously for many years.
Where do ocelots live?
Many ocelots live under the leafy canopies of South American rain forests, but they also inhabit brushlands and can be found as far north as Texas. These cats can adapt to human habitats and are sometimes found in the vicinity of villages or other settlements.
What does a ocelot eat?
Almost all of the prey that the ocelot hunts is much smaller than the ocelot itself. The ocelot is believed to find prey using its keen sense of smell by sniffing out odor trails marked by smaller animals, and the ocelot is also thought to spot potential meals using its acute night vision.
The ocelot hunts a variety of small animals, from small deer and rodents to reptiles and amphibians. The ocelot is thought to occasionally take to the trees when hunting in order to catch birds and the ocelot is also a big fan of water based dinners such as fish and crabs.
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