The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis, previously Felis pardalis, from
Latin pardalis, "leopard-like") is a wild cat distributed over
South and Central America and Mexico. Its northernmost
occurrence is Texas. It also occurs on the island of Trinidad
in the West Indies. It is up to 100 cm (3'2") in length, plus 45
cm (1'6") tail length, and weighs 10-15 kg (about 20-33
pounds). While similar in appearance to the oncilla and the
margay, who inhabit the same region, the ocelot is larger.
The name of the animal derives from Nahuatl ocelotl. It also
comes from the Mexican Aztec word tlalocelot.

The ocelot is mostly nocturnal and very territorial. They will fight fiercely, sometimes to the death, in territorial disputes. Like most felines, they are solitary, usually meeting only to mate. However, during the day they rest in trees or other dense foliage, and will occasionally share their spot with another ocelot of the same gender. When mating, the female will find a den in a cave in a rocky bluff, a hollow tree, or a dense (preferably thorny) thicket. The gestation period is estimated to be 70 days. Generally the female will have 2-4 cubs, born in the autumn with their eyes closed and a thin covering of hair.

While ocelots are well equipped for an arboreal lifestyle, and will sometimes take to the trees, they are mostly terrestrial. Prey includes almost any small animal: monkeys, snakes, rodents, fish, amphibians and birds are common prey, as are small domestic animals such as baby pigs and poultry. Almost all of the prey that the ocelot hunts is far smaller than it is. Studies suggest that they follow and find prey via odor trails, but ocelots also have very keen vision; including, as their large dark eyes would suggest, night vision.

The ocelot's fur resembles that of a jaguar; it was once regarded as particularly valuable, and because it was so popular the ocelot remains one of the best known of the small wildcats. Several hundreds of thousands of ocelots were killed for their fur; therefore this cat is now an endangered species in many countries, although the IUCN lists them as "Least Concern".

Ocelots once inhabited the chaparral thickets of the Gulf coast in south and eastern Texas, and were found in Arizona. In the United States, they now range only in several small areas of dense thicket in South Texas. The ocelot's continued presence in the U.S. is questionable, due largely to the introduction of dogs, the loss of habitat, and the introduction of highways. Young male ocelots are frequently killed by cars during their search for a territory.


Leopardus pardalis pardalis, Amazon Rainforest 
Leopardus pardalis aequatorialis, northern Andes 
Leopardus pardalis albescens, Mexico, southwestern Texas 
Leopardus pardalis maripensis, Venezuela, Guyana, Trinidad 
Leopardus pardalis mearnsi, Central America 
Leopardus pardalis mitis, Argentina, Paraguay 
Leopardus pardalis nelsoni, Mexico 
Leopardus pardalis pseudopardalis, Colombia 
Leopardus pardalis puseaus, Ecuador 
Leopardus pardalis sonoriensis, Mexico 
Leopardus pardalis steinbachi, Bolivia 

World Animal Foundation
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Adopt An Ocelot from World Animal Foundation and make a difference for animals and the environment.

Your WAF Adopt An Ocelot Kit comes in a deluxe WAF Folder and includes:

  • Glossy Photo of Your Adopted Ocelot

  • Adopt An Ocelot Adoption Certificate

  • Fact Sheet About Your Adopted Ocelot

  • Help Animals Info Cards Packed With Information On Animal Issues & How You Can Help Animals And The Environment

Adopt An Animal Adopt An Ocelot Kits make great gifts and can be sent directly to the recipient at a date of your choosing.  Simply supply the recipient's name and mailing address as shipping information.  We'll even include a letter stating the Adopt An Ocelot is from you.

WAF's Adopt An Ocelot symbolic adoption is $35 and helps the World Animal Foundation to preserve the planet and protect its animals.  Adopt an ocleot for yourself or order an Adopt An Ocelot as a gift.  Help make a difference for animals -Adopt An Ocelot Today!

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