Brand New Raymond Zoo!
Come and see animals found all across North America!
Species: Leopardus pardalis
Commom Name: Ocelot
Ocelots range in color from light yellow to reddish gray, with dark spots and stripes. They have dark stripes on their cheeks and their tails have rings of dark fur. Their bodies can grow to 1 meter in length and their tails can grow up to 45 centimeters. They weigh between 25 and 35 pounds and look like a larger version of a house cat, but with the fur pattern of a jaguar or leopard.
Fun Fact: Each Ocelot has a different coat pattern.
Ocelots are carnivores that prey mainly on small rodents but are also known to eat birds, snakes, iguanas, baby peccaries, young deer, rabbits, and fish and crabs. They are nocturnal, which means they are active at night and sleep during the day. When hunting, Ocelots may look for their next meal while strolling about or they may sit and wait for prey to appear. It doesn't have the right kind of teeth to chew, but it has sharp back teeth to tear their food to pieces to swallow whole. They can also lick a bone clean with their raspy tongue. If the carcass can't be eaten in one feeding, the ocelot covers it and returns the next night to finish its meal. Ocelots are very picky eaters and they always strip their prey of any fur or feathers before enjoying their meal.
WARNING: These sights may be too ghastly for some children.
Ocelots prefer to live in areas with thick vegetation, such as dense chaparral or tropical rain forests so that they have plenty of places to hide during the day. They are very secretive and without these hiding places, they would not be able to survive. As a result, if tress and bushes are cut down from their habitat, they will leave and find another place to live.
Ocelots used to be found in Arkansas and Louisiana, throughout Texas, and in Mexico and South America. However, now they are found only in extreme southern Texas, northeastern Mexico, and in every country south of the United States except Chile.
Ocelots have very good vision and hearing, like all small cats. Their eyes have a special layer that collects light, so ocelots can see six times better in the dark than humans can.
Their sense of smell is a lot better than a human's, but not as good as a dog’s. Ocelots also have long whiskers that help them feel their way around.
Humans are the biggest threat to ocelots. Even though it is illegal in most places to hunt ocelots, they are often killed for their fur. In addition, their habitats are being destroyed because humans are clearing the land for farming or development. They also fall victim to other predators such as coyotes and bobcats.
There are about 50 ocelots left in the United States.
- "Basic Facts About Ocelots." Defenders of Wildlife. N.p., 11 Apr. 2012. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.
"Mammals | Ocelot." Ocelot. San Diego Zoo Animals, n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016
"Difference Between Ocelot and Margay." Difference Between. N.p., 20 Oct. 2011. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.
"Ocelot." Ocelot. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.
"Ocelot: WhoZoo." Ocelot: WhoZoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.