Found from Southwest Texas to Paraguay and North Argentina; also in the mountainous areas of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The Ocelot was once native to Southwest Arizona, but it’s doubtful if it ranges into Arizona today.
Found in a variety of habitats: humid jungle and dense forest, the brush and chaparral, as well as marshes and river banks (staying out of open country)
Length: 41-45 inches; Weight 25-35 lbs.
Opportunistic: small mammals such as young deer, peccaries, monkeys, coatis, rats, and mice; also birds and reptiles (anything they can fit in their mouths)
Carnivore diet, chicken, and pigeon wings.
7- 10 years.
Up to 20 years.
Endangered, CITES Appendix I
habitat loss and poaching
They are short and stout, but they are all muscle. They have retractable claws, like most cats, so the claws remain sharp for seizing and holding prey. They have a camouflage of irregular shaped dark spots that make chainlike streaks and blotches down its body so they can blend into the trees and leaf litter. Their under laying coloration can be a yellow/cream to a darker yellow/tan. The under parts of the body are white with black spots. They have a long tail that is either ringer or marked with bars. They have large eyes and binocular vision that is about 6 times better than a human’s.
They are solitary, but couples will share a territory.
They are very shy and illusive cats. It is one of three cats (ocelot, margay, and clouded leopard) that can rotate its ankles 180 degrees so that it can climb down a tree head first. This way they can always have their eyes pointed in the direction they are going, always looking for food and predators.
They communicate by using scent markings. They also growl and meow when in heat.
If threatened they will use their claws as a defense. Since they are a small cat they go for the eyes to disable their attacker.
Small mammals, birds, reptiles.
They are very efficient climbers and can even stalk monkeys and birds in the trees. They will stalk their prey until they’re within a close range, then they rush towards the target. They can move quickly and quietly in the undergrowth. Although they are strong swimmers, they do not enter the water readily.
They are mostly nocturnal, but they can be diurnal as well.
There are eight subspecies of ocelot. Here at the Phoenix Zoo we have Brazilian ocelots (Leopardus pardalis mitis). This subspecies is rare and only found in the northern parts of Brazil.