Description: Ocelots are medium-sized cats with short fur. The Ocelot is light brown with open and closed dark spots (called rosettes) that run parallel to each other throughout its body. Its eyes are large and amber in color. Ocelot ears are rounded and have conspicuous white spots on the back. The Ocelot has two vertical black lines that extend from the crown to the corners of the eyes and ending at the nose. It can grow to more than 3 feet in length and weigh up to 35 pounds.
Like most felines, the Ocelot is solitary, nocturnal and extremely territorial. The famous Spanish artist Salvatore Dali was known to have kept an ocelot as a pet. Ocelots are nearly identical to Margays (another tropical cat) and can be very hard to tell apart.
Diet: Rodents, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish.
Habitat/Range: Ocelots live in a variety of tropical and sub-tropical habitats. They range from southern Texas, Mexico, Central America and much of South America. The Ocelot once ranged throughout Texas and parts of the desert southwest.
Breeding: Female Ocelots have two to four kittens in autumn after a gestation period of about 70 days. Kittens leave at two years.
Status: The Ocelot once lived throughout much of the southern United States.
Populations were extirpated in America north of southern Texas, however, because
of habitat destruction, overhunting, and the introduction of dogs to the region. Though rare in the United States, Ocelots are generally stable throughout much of their tropical ranges and are not considered threatened.