Ocelot

by Emanuel Alicia

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genus: Leopardus

Species: Leopardus Pardalis

 

Geography and Habitat

The ocelot can be found in every country south of the US except for Chile and in the US there have been rare sightings in South Texas. While the ocelot is most found in dense jungles in the Amazon Basin but is a very diverse animal and has been found in places such as high in the Andes mountains,tropical forests,grasslands and marshes. However the common denominator between all these the ocelot seems to prefer places with high vegetation to hide during the day then comes out to hunt at night.

 

Behavior

The ocelot is a solitary animal that is also carnivorous and crepuscular, meaning most active at night. The ocelot prefers to keep refuge in high vegetation during the day and then at night go on patrol of it’s territory which can be up to 30 squares kilometers and travel one to five miles a night and on average according to defenders.org ocelots on average at night catch one prey for every 3.1 hours.like most felines the ocelot is a skilled hunter that has great sight and hearing when hunting ad also isn’t afraid to swim.While roaming at night though, if a male ocelot was to encounter a female ocelot the male would obtain breeding rights for the female

 

Physical Characteristics

Ocelots vary in size and can be 2- 3 and 1/2 feet long and weigh around 20 to 35 pounds according to animal diversity web page. The ocelot is a medium sized small cat, significantly bigger than a house cat but no bigger than other jungle cats like pumas or even jaguar which both prey on the ocelot. Ocelots like almost all other felines have retractable claws to avoid the claws getting blunt when walking on hard surfaces. It is often called painted leopard by locals who encounter have encountered the animal in its habitat because of the painted fur similar to that of a leopard.

 

Reproduction

Ocelots usually are pregnant, from conception to childbirth, an average of 79 to 85 days and give birth to a litter of three. The lifespan of these animals are about 8-12 years old in the wild and after birth they become fully grown after a year and sexually mature as early as 15 months old for males and 18 for females. However according to ADW ocelot males can not reproduce until around 30 months old and say that evidence suggests that becoming sexually mature so young most likely has to do with territory. Although ocelots are fully grown after a year they usually don’t become fully dependent until after two or three years.

 

Prey and Predators

The ocelot is carnivores but because of it’s small size for a feline it eats smaller animals such as, rabbits, birds, fish, crabs, lizards, snakes and even small deer sometimes. More exotic animals they have been known to eat is monkeys, armadillos, turtles and anteaters. The ocelot also can be preyed on by many other animals and to my surprise even some animals of the same species. The jaguar and puma are the ocelots biggest predators as well as the harpy eagle. The ocelot is known for it’s beautiful fur which gives it camoflauge that keeps it safe in the dense vegetation it prefers to stay in during the day, however it’s fur is the same reason it almost went extinct.

 

Culture

In many ancient cultures in south America and central America, the ocelot was worshipped similarly to the cat in Egypt and was depicted in ancient in art work for their beautiful fur and other things like that. The fur trade for ocelots became famous in the 1960’s because of the exotic spots and it’s thickness, however it almost went extinct and then was saved when it was placed on the endangered species list. It is now classified as least concern for extinction. The most famous ocelot in history was Salvador Dali’s ocelot, Babou which Dali was known to take many different places and even rumored to have taken it on an ocean liner. In reference to more recent culture, the show Archer one of the characters owns a pet ocelot also named babou and they obtain a few comedic parts with the animal.