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Ocelot Cat - Size, Diet, Habitat, Personality & Facts

What is the ocelot?

The Ocelot has a short coat with black spots and rosettes. The background color varies from tawny to reddish brown. The belly appears to be lighter in color than the rest of the body. The Ocelot has a white spot on the back of the ears and a few white markings on the face. The tail has black bands.

Ocelots have always been hunted for their wonderful pelts. Looking back at the history of the species, one will see that the Ocelot Cat was extensively hunted at the times of the Aztecs. Yet, if primitive weapons could not harm the species drastically, the guns of the modern civilization turned out to be destructive for this wild cat.

In the 1960-70s, more than 200,000 species per year were killed for pelts. This figure is much greater than the number of other wild cats killed. In 1972, the Ocelot was listed as endangered. No hunting or trade is allowed anymore. Though fur trade has been eliminated in the United States, it is still a threat for the species due to absence of necessary laws in other countries.

Images of Ocelot Cat and more information about its size, diet, habitat, personality & facts


Ocelot Cat Facts
Ocelots are solitary animals. They are observed in pairs only during the mating season. Females reach sexual maturity by the age of 18 months. Male Ocelots are known to mature earlier.

The gestation period in the Ocelot cat is about 79-85 days. Litters are usually small. Ocelots give birth to no more than 3 cubs. As a rule, however, the litter size is 1-2 kittens. Male Ocelots do not take part in rearing the young. Females supply the juvenile with necessary care and food.

The juvenile are likely to stay with their mother until one year old. During this time, the female will teach them to hunt. After that, they will leave in search of their own home ranges. Usually, Ocelots live for about 7-10 years in the wild.

Scientific Name: Leopardus Pardalis
Weight: 24-35 pounds
Life Span: 10-13 years in the wild.
Status: Endangered

Ocelot Cat Habitat - Where do Ocelots live?
Ocelots seem to adapt to lots of zones and do pretty well in disturbed forests. The species is often found in mangrove forests, coastal marshes, grasslands, and tropical forests. The Ocelot prefers elevated areas with lots of vegetation and good ground cover.

What does an Ocelot eat? How do Ocelots hunt?
Ocelots are carnivores that prey on small to medium mammals and birds. They feed on rodents, pacas, monkeys, iguanas, frogs, and small turtles. The species hunts mainly on the ground. When hunting larger prey, such as the deer, the Ocelot will choose the juvenile. Though this is not frequent, Ocelots are known to hunt livestock and domestic dogs.

Are Ocelots endangered? Can you have an ocelot as a pet?
Keepers of this exotic animal had to cut its claws and get rid of smell. Not all their attempts turned out to be successful. Thus, Ocelot habit to urinate on objects to mark their territory could not be handled. Nowadays, it is illegal to keep Ocelots as pets. This species is considered endangered and any hunting, trading, or other illegal actions are to be punished.

Ocelots are probably one of the best-known small wild cats in the United States. They catch an eye by their marvelous coat and amazing agility. The species is found throughout the United States to northern Argentina. Since the population of this wild cat is low, it has been listed as endangered and is under special protection laws.

Ocelot Cat Behavior
Beautiful wild cats, Ocelots were often kept as pets. However, keepers had to face a lot of difficulties due to the species behavior. Like all wild animals, Ocelots displayed characteristics that could not be escaped. It is the Ocelot nature to be strung and highly active.


Ocelots are solitary territorial animals. The home range of a male Ocelot is larger than that of a female. However, females are no less fierce in defending their home ranges. It has been estimated that the home range of a female Ocelot may be about 9 sq. miles. Ocelots make use of scent marking to show their area rights and readiness to mate.

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