Ocelot Leopardus pardalis
Website created and designed by UW-La Crosse Freshmen Danny Knobloch
University of Wisconsin La-Crosse
Big Cat Rescue Average
Common name: Ocelot Length 24-36 inches
Kingdom: Animalia Tail 10 to 15 inches
Phylum: Chordata Height 16 to 20 inches
Subphylum: Vertebrata Weight 17 to 26 pounds
Species: Leopardus pardalis
Ocelots are primarily nocturnal, solitary and terrestrial animals. Ocelots are about twice the size of domestic house cats. They are classified as small cats. Being a small cat means that they are able to purr constantly but cannot roar. Ocelots and other small cats cannot roar because they lack special cartilage in their throats. Small cats have bone instead of this cartilage in their throats. These cats have been important throughout history. Ocelot fur was once a very important commodity. According to the Encyclopedia of Animals in 1968, North American fur traders imported over 100,000 fur coats. Today it is illegal to hunt or even trade ocelot furs. Their close relatives are the Margay and the Oncilla. They all have 36 chromosomes while most other cats have 38.
Habitat and Geography:
Ocelots are known for inhabiting numerous and diverse habitats. They can be found in Southern Texas, Mexico, and Central and Southern America. The habitat of an ocelot could be called dense cover. Some of the places that they inhabit are rain forests, subtropical forests, thick bush, savannah, coastal marsh, and along river banks. They can range from the Rio Grande Valley to tropical forests in the Amazon. Ocelots can live in many varieties of habitats but they all have one thing in common. The use of dense cover.
Ocelots use a varieties of colors to blend in with their environments. Their fur coats are golden yellow with dark brown or black spots, rings, and blotches. Their color ranges from a very light brown to a reddish brown to black. Usually the ventral surface of their body tends to be lighter in color or even white.