Ocelots are attractively marked and because of this they were once prime targets for those in the fur trade. Their fur is coloured cream with brown markings that are outlined in black. These markings vary from stripes to irregular spots and rosettes. They have a pale coloured underside and they are slenderly built.
They have a body length between 50 and 100 cms (20 - 39 inches), a tail length between 30 and 45 cms (12 - 18 inches) and they weigh between 11.5 and 16 Kgs (25 - 35 lbs).
Ocelots spend much of the day sleeping in the low branches of trees and are most active at night. They are also good swimmers.
Ocelots are found in swampy savannah, scrub and forested areas of South USA, Central and South America.
They are solitary animals, except mothers with cubs and during the breeding season. They have territories up to 5 Kms (3 miles) and these often overlap with those of other Ocelots.
Their diet mainly consists of rodents, rabbits, reptiles, amphibians, birds, monkeys, small deer, fish and domestic livestock.
After a gestation period of 79 - 85 days, 1 - 3 kittens are born in a den. At birth they weigh approximately 90 g (3.2 oz), they have their eyes closed and are covered in a thin layer of fur.
Female Ocelots reach sexual maturity at approximately 2 years of age and males at approximately 2.5 years of age. They generally mate every other year and kittens tend to be born between September and November.
Their main predators are coyotes, bobcats, wild dogs and humans.
Listed below, with their locations, are the currently recognized subspecies of the Ocelot:
Leopardus pardalis pardalis - Amazon Rainforest
Leopardus pardalis aequatorialis - Northern Andes and Central America
Leopardus pardalis albescens - Mexico, South Western Texas
Leopardus pardalis melanurus - Venezuela, Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, Grenada
Leopardus pardalis mitis - Argentina, Paraguay
Leopardus pardalis nelsoni - Mexico
Leopardus pardalis pseudopardalis - Colombia
Leopardus pardalis puseaus - Ecuador
Leopardus pardalis sonoriensis - Mexico
Leopardus pardalis steinbachi - Bolivia
Ocelots are also known as:
McKenney's Wild Cat
Manigordo (in Costa Rica)
Jaguatirica (in Brazil)