Common Name: Ocelot
Scientific Name: Leopardus pardalis
Species: L. pardalis
Lepardus Pardalis is the scientific name for the ocelot. An ocelot is in the cat family. It is similar in appearance to its larger cousin the jaguar. You may not know what a ocelot looks like or even what it is, but after this report you will know how the ocelot looks, its feeding habits, and the size of the ocelots populations. The average size of the ocelot is about 1 4/3’’ – 3 ¼’’ in length from its head to body. It is about 1 2/3 ft. in shoulder length, and its tail is between 8’’ and 10 in. long. The weight of the ocelot depends on the sex of the animal. The male weighs between 22- 26 ½ pounds. The female weighs about 19- 20 pounds. The ocelot’s coat is covered in a unique pattern with numerous Black rings and Black strikes on its face and back. The actual color of the coat is either yellow, or a tawny color, with white on its stomach. Because there beautiful pattern many were hunted just for their coats.
The ocelot’s habitat is mainly forest, and thorn scrubs, forest edges and pastures. The distribution of ocelot is southwestern U.S, south into central and South America, and the island of Trinidad. The ocelot loves the forest, but usually stays in dense cover. They will hide in the in the trees and holes in the forest during the day since they are nocturnal. This habitat provides everything the ocelot needs to survive including plenty of animals to pray on. Sad to say it was estimated that in the 1960s 80,000 ocelots were killed each year in the Amazon basin. They were also highly popular as pets. Because of this the number of ocelots decreased dramatically. The population is also going down because the ocelots growth is relatively slow.
Ocelot’s mostly prey on any animal it can overpower. It includes small animals such as mice, rates, armadillo’s, and even monks. Ocelots mostly hunt alone and are very good hunters. They can even catch birds very successfully. The ocelot catches its food by stalking it. They catch there pray the exact way a regular house cat would catch something. By crouching down and waiting for its victim to come close the pouncing on it. Unlike the prey of the ocelot the ocelots don’t have any predators, except for humans hunting them down for there coats. Some interesting facts about the ocelot is that it’s litter usually only has one kitten in it, and occasionally two. Another that I found fascinating about the ocelot is its beautiful coat.
Author: Kaitlyn S
Sources: Endangered Wildlife and plants of the world (Vol.7) pg. 960-961 International Wildlife Encyclopedia (Vol.13) pg. 1776-1778 The Golden Guide “ Cats” pg.50-51 Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ocelot.jpg