About the Ocelot
These predatory cats have striking coats of fur marked with both black spots and rosettes. They're primarily nocturnal, solitary animals. They hunt during the day and are very secretive, keeping to areas of dense brush or other heavy cover.
An ocelot’s fur is short haired and marked with both black spots and rosettes. Their base color ranges from grayish to reddish brown. Their stomachs tend to be lighter or white in color. Two black lines run down the length of both sides of their face and the tail is marked with black bands.
Length: 5.8 to 8.7 feet
Weight: Males average 25 pounds, females average 20 pounds
Ocelots prey upon small to medium-sized mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Ocelots breed year round but especially from September to November. After a gestation period ranging from 79 to 85 days, females give birth to one to three young. Females take care of the young alone and sexual maturity is reached around 15 months (for males) to 18 months (for females).
Ocelots are generally solitary, nocturnal animals. If forced to hunt during the day, they keep to areas of dense underbrush. Their spots help break up their body outline and resemble the pattern that sunlight makes on the ground through the forest's canopy. A male’s territory overlaps several adjacent female territories. They use scent marks to mark the borders of their territories. They climb down trees headfirst to keep their eyes on the surrounding area.
Ocelots range throughout humid rainforests of southwest Texas to Paraguay and northern Argentina.
Median Life Expectancy:
Ocelots are currently threatened by habitat loss and the illegal trade of pelts and cubs.
Supporting Species Survival
Zoo New England participates in the ocelot Species Survival Plan. By sharing research and knowledge, participating institutions work together to establish guidelines that best ensure the health of captive populations, and with success, the survival of otherwise extinct species.
You Can Find This Animal in the Tropical Forest
From the Keeper
Our ocelots Isidoro (male) and PJ (female) really respond to scent enrichment. Cats in the wild use scent as a way to communicate with each other and their surroundings. Cats mark their territory by spraying urine or rubbing saliva on things. Males can sense when a female is in heat and ready for breeding by her scent. We use different perfumes, lotions and spices to entice our ocelots. They enjoy perfume samples from magazines and body sprays like sun ripened raspberry sprayed on logs or phonebooks. They respond by rubbing themselves on the logs and shredding the phonebooks.