- While most wildcats see their numbers dwindling rapidly, the beautiful Ocelot holds the distinction of being one of the few wild felines that the IUCN lists as a Species of Least Concern.
- Previously, it had been listed as Endangered until 1996. As of that time, efforts at protecting the creature had allowed its numbers to bounce back significantly.
- In the past, the Ocelot was widely hunted for its pelt, which was regarded as highly valuable. Thankfully, this practice was banned decades ago throughout its endemic territory.
Ocelot Physical Description
The remarkable Ocelot lists as a moderate-sized variety of wildcat. The species also displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism. Females weigh as much as 25 lb (11.3 kg) while males reach a weight of as much as 34 lb (15 .5 kg).
This beautiful mammal attains an average overall body length of between 22 – 39 in (55 – 100 cm). The tail adds an additional 10 – 16 in (25.5 – 41 cm) to the total length of the feline.
In color, the fur of the Ocelot is predominantly a tawny yellow with numerous black markings. The neck and belly typically display a white coloring. Its fur usually remains short on the belly but grows longer on the back.
The small ears also usually remain rounded and display a prominent white spot. The eyes most commonly show a brown color that reflects patterns of gold in bright light.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Leopardus
- Species: L. paradis
Ocelot Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Most notably, the actual range of the amazing Ocelot covers an extensive region which extends through portions of the United States, in North America, through Mexico and much of Central America and South America.
Population densities also vary rather widely, however, with the highest known density occurring in Panama.
This particular animal inhabits a rather wide range of habitats, which has helped its numbers to rebound from a few decades ago.
These habitat types also include tropical rainforests, scrublands, mangrove forests, and even coastal marshes. It typically prefers lower elevations, but some populations occur as high as 9,843 ft (3,000 m).
Like all wildcats, the Ocelot also has a carnivorous diet. Its primary prey consists of such small animals as rabbits, rodents, fish, birds, opossums, armadillos, and occasionally small reptiles and even insects.
Hunting typically occurs during the evening and at night, but sometimes happens during the day when necessary.