Ocelot Info

Genus: Felis Paradalis

Range: USA: Arizona, Texas, Mexico, Central and South America To N. Argentina.


Body Length: 48 in - 64 in

Tail: 12 - 18 in

Weight: 25 - 35 lbs


Sexual maturity: 6 - 8 months

Mating Season: Once or twice a year depending on location.

Gestation: 79 - 82 days

No. of Young: 1 - 2


Habit: Solitary or may live in pairs.

Diet: Small mammales such as young deer,peccaries,agoutis,pacas and other small rodents as well as birds and snakes.

Lifespan: 17 yrs in captivity

Nicknames: Also known as Dwarf Leopard or McKenney's Wildcat


Ocelots range from Arizona in North America to Argentina in South America and South Texas.Ocelots once lives as far east as Louisiana, but their habitat has been reduced by agriculture. Today, only about 100 ocelots live in South Texas. Ocelot populations remain high in Central and South America.


The ocelot inhabits both scrubland and forest.Forestdwelling ocelots have rich, golden colored coats that blend in with the golden brown hue of trees.Ocelots that live in the scubland have duller, grayish colored coats that provide camouflage from predators.They are a agile climber and spend much of its time resting in trees.Unlike domestic cats that run down trees head first, the ocelot climbs down backwards.The ocelot is territorial and marks the boundaries of its territory by spraying trees with urine, Most ocelots are solitary, but some form pairs.

Food & Hunting

Although the ocelots sense of smell is highly developed,They relie on its hearing and eyesight to detect prey,which it hunts at night,the hearing of small cats like the ocelot is more acute than that of larger cats, and they they are better able to pinpoint the location of their prey.its whiskers are also important to the ocelot when hunting.They are so sensitive to touch that they help the cat maneuver in tight spaces.The ocelot`s prey includes agoutis,mice,hares,monkeys,and birds.Although it spends alot of time in the trees, all the hunting is done on the ground.it will lie flat on its stomach once prey is spotted. it will slowly creep forward in this position and then rush at the prey over a short distance before pouncing and catching it with its razor like claws.The ocelot sharpens its claws by scratching them against tree trunks.The prey is killed quickly with a bite to the neck.Small prey is devoured head first, but with large prey, the ocelot begins eating at a soft part of the animals body.


It is not known for certain when and how often the ocelot breeds twice a year, in summer and in winter.When the breeding season arrives, the ocelot will venture out of its territory to find a mate.The female starts the courtship by calling loudly to attract a male.Before the kittens are born two months later, the female makes a well-hidden nest.This is sometimes lined with soft down plucked from her underside.Two to four kittens are born.As each one arrives,the mother breaks the birth sac to free the kitten.She bites off the umbillical cord and licks the newborn clean and dry, then eats the afterbirth.The kittens are born with fur, but they are blind and helpless for several days. Therefore, the mother will leave them only when obsolutely necessary.For the first few weeks, the kittens feed only on their mothers milk.During this time, she will eat their droppings so as to keep the nest clean.When the kitten are older, the mother brings them live prey and teaches them how to kill it.Later they follow her on hunting trips to develop their skills.Once the kittens become competent hunters, they leave the nest to find their own territories.

Did You Know ?

  • The ocelot sleeps lying down with its forepaws stretched out in front and its head resting on them
    much in the same way that a dog does.It is the only small cat that sleeps in this manner.

  • In 1968 North American fur traders imported a total of 129,000 ocelot pelts.

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