Ocelot Leopardus pardalis

Type of Animal:

Tropical/subtropical forest, brushy forest, semi-desert, desert, mountain slopes, pampas, brushland, villages, savanna, thorn forest, mangrove swamps, grassland, marshes, mangrove forest, seasonally flooded forest, areas near human settlements, dense thorny shrubland, plains, plateaus, thornscrub, dense chaparral

Ranges from S Texas & S Arizona through Mexico down to N Argentina, NE Chile, & NW Uruguay. Historically occurred in S, E, & C Texas as well as W Louisiana, S Arkansas, other parts of Arizona, & SW New Mexico. Also occurs on Trinidad.

Overall spotted appearance w/ solid/open-centered dark spots, ground color grayish to buff to cinnamon, whitish neck/belly, black ringed/barred tail, stripes on inside of legs, squarish head shape, rounded ears, slender build, males larger than females, those in drier areas have more rich yellow/cream color while in more covered areas they’re darker

Lagomorphs, rodents (up to size of capybara), lizards, fish, amphibians, monkeys, birds, sloths, coatis, armadillos, opossums, smaller anteaters, giant anteater pups, pigs, crustaceans, snakes, young peccaries, small deer, small caimans, young of larger crocodilians, turtles, tortoises, insects

Status in Wild:
Stable, though critically endangered in US w/ only 120 N of Mexico

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers. Research/close monitoring being done on highly endangered US ocelots in Texas & Arizona. Translocation of ocelots from Mexico to S Texas’s Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Solitary, though male-female pairs & sibling groups also occur

Additional Info:

Male: Tom
Female: Queen
Young: Kitten
Group: Clowder

Male: 15-34 lbs
Female: 14.5-25 lbs
Young: 4.5 lbs

2.5 months 

Life Span:
10-13 years in wild, 20 years in captivity

1.67 ft, same for both sexes

Body Length:
Male: 3.3 ft
Female: 1.84 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 1.5 ft
Female: 0.92 ft

Main predators of adults are jaguars, pumas, large raptors, anacondas, boa constrictors, coyotes, feral dogs, bobcats, & crocodilians. Feral pigs eat kittens, & occasionally, adults.
Highly territorial, w/ fights often resulting in death.
Male territories tend to be 2.4-56 sq mi while female territories 1-46.6 sq mi. Male territories often cover 2-5 female territories.
Mostly active at night (nocturnal).
Territories marked w/ foul-smelling urine/feces.
Though stable, potential threats include deforestation, habitat loss/fragmentation, wildlife trade, hunting for fur/sport, persecution as pig/poultry predators, poisoning, & vehicle collisions. Fur trade especially prevalent from 1960s to 1980s, when coats sold for $40,000.

Fun Fact(s):
Name comes from Aztec word “tlalocelot” meaning field tiger.
Unlike many cats, they’re good swimmers.
Even though Salvador Dali had a pet ocelot, they don’t make good pets due to unpredictable, wild nature. They are potentially dangerous.
Ocelot, stock photo

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