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Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)

Ocelot
OcelotOcelotOcelot

Personal Information
The Seneca Park Zoo has one ocelot, Storm. She was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1996 and came here in 2007. She is a generic ocelot, meaning her genetic background isn't truly known. Storm is a mellow cat and very comfortable around her keepers.

Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists all ocelots as endangered, and national legislation offers protection over most of the range. Peru allows hunting, and Ecuador, El Salvador and Guyana offer no protection. The species was exploited heavily in the 1960’s and 1970’s for the fur trade, but the species is recovering thanks to conservation efforts such as anti-hunting pressure and zoo efforts like the Species Survival Plan.

Habitat
Found in the southeastern corner of Texas and every country south of the United States except Chile, ocelots occupy mangrove forests, coastal marshes, savannah grasslands, pastures and tropical forests.

Diet
Ocelots hunt nocturnal rodents such as mice, rats, possums, armadillos, but also fish, reptiles, birds and larger prey.

  • The ocelot is a medium-sized slender cat. On average, an ocelot weighs between 25 and 35 pounds and reaches lengths of around 40 inches, with an additional 10- to 15-inch long tail.
  • An ocelot is a nocturnal solitary hunter, active at night and sleeping during the day.
  • An ocelot’s eyesight is six times better than human’s, a great adaptation for hunting at night.
  • Ocelots have a small litter (1 or 2 babies) and one of the longest gestations — two-and-a-half months — and slowest growth rates among the small cats.
  • Ocelots are strong swimmers. They are able to cross rivers and move between patches of high ground in seasonally flooded habitats.
  • The ocelot is the best-known small cat of the Americas largely because of its beautiful coat. The fur is marked with roseate dark spots that run in parallel chains along the sides of the ocelot’s body. The ocelot has a long tail, ringed or marked with dark bars.