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Scientific Name:
Felis pardalis


South Texas, Mexico, Central and South America

Humid tropical forests to arid desert habitats

Rodents, rabbits, young deer, monkeys and javelina, birds, snakes and fish

Head and body 550-1000 mm and tail 300-450mm

11.3-15.8 kg

Ocelots have more trouble recovering from low populations than jaguars and bobcats. This is due to long gestation (pregnancy) and small litters of one to two cats. Also, ocelot survival depends on a wide variety of prey that can only be supported by a diverse ecosystem. Survival of this species depends on habitat conservation as well as an SSP captive breeding program.

7-10 years in wild; 20 years in zoos.

General Description:
The ocelot is a medium-size, short-hair cat. It hunts at night and swims well. This cat uses lower tree branches to hunt birds, bats, and snakes. Its distinctive markings serve as camouflage. Unfortunately, the ocelot is hunted for the beauty of its coat.

Hides in the forest and brush. Ocelots are more social than other wild small cats in that the cubs sometime spend time with the male. Females teach young to hunt starting at 3 months, but remain under supervision of mother until one year old. Young males find new territory when they are ready to leave their mothers or fight to death for another males territory. Ocelots can travel 1-5 miles in a night. They are seldom seen.

Did you know? Ocelots once lived as far east as Louisiana, but their habitat has been reduced by agriculture. Today only about 80-120 ocelots live in South Texas. Overall, ocelot populations are high in Central and South America. Two subspecies from southeast Texas and Brazil, however, are close to extinction. Habitat loss to agriculture and the lumber industry has severely reduced ocelot numbers in the lower Rio Grande Valley and the rain forests of Brazil. Hunting and the illegal pet trade are also a threat to this cat.

Where can you find them? Zoo and natural habitats from South Texas to South America


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El Paso's Zoo Mission
Our mission is to celebrate the value of animals and natural resources and to create opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.