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Animals

Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Purrrfect Facts About The Ocelot Kids Will Love

Ocelot facts for kids are fun to read

If reading about unique mammals is your hobby, you would love to read about the ocelot cat. Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) are wild cats who are carnivores; they have a golden fur coat but black spots all over them. Ocelots can be found in the wildlife ranges of southwestern United States, Central America, and South America. They are primarily distinguished in the wildlife by the solid black spots, streaky coats, round eats, and white undersides and neck. Ocelots males are bigger than their female counterparts, aside from being quick and agile, ocelots are great hunters as they are experts at leaping, climbing, and swimming. Ocelots are incredibly hostile and territorial. They view each other as threats and are ready to fight! The only time they will tolerate other ocelots is during mating season. Ocelots sexually mature at the age of two years, and after a gestation period of 2-3 months, the female gives birth to two to three kittens. Males are bigger, stronger, and faster than females and are often solitary.

The threats to the ocelot population and their habitat in the wildlife are mainly human causes like deforestation. They are active during twilight and night and prey on smaller creatures like armadillos, rabbits, rodents, iguanas, and so on. Ocelots aren't good companions or pets as they are aggressive and hostile, but in some cases, they have been occasionally kept as pets. Ocelots are categorized under the Least Endangered species by the IUCN Red List.

Ocelot Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an ocelot?

An ocelot is a medium-sized cat found in the wildlife, with dark spots on their coats, long ringed tails, and round ears. On their cheeks, they have two stripes and a stripe that goes from the top of the eyes and over the head.

What class of animal does an ocelot belong to?

Ocelots belong to the Mammal class and the order Carnivora. The scientific name of these spotted mammals is Leopardus pardalis.

How many ocelots are there in the world?

The ocelot population is estimated to be around 800,000 to 1.5 million throughout the Western Hemisphere. However, in the U.S., fewer than 60 of these spotted mammals can be found living in southeast Texas.

Where does an ocelot live?

Ocelots prefer areas with dense vegetation to use as cover to protect themselves and accessible hunting grounds with high prey availability with close proximity to water sources.

What is an ocelot's habitat?

Throughout their vast range, ocelots have a variety of habitats over the world. They live in mangroves, high altitude cloud forests and are likely to be more commonly found in dense vegetative areas like the canopies of rain forests in South America, especially in areas like Northern Argentina and Northern Peru. They also inhabit brushlands and can be found as far in the north as Texas in the U.S. They prefer dense vegetative areas because of the habitat's ability to hide them from predators and to use them as cover for hunting prey. In the human population or other disturbed areas, they can be found using shrubs, and trees alongside water bodies to use as a cover for protection.

Who do ocelot live with?

Ocelots are also solitary wild cats, which means they live alone their entire life. Spending most of their time on trees is the natural pastime for these spotted mammals.

How long does a ocelot live?

In the wild, ocelots have a lifespan ranging from 8-11 years. Whereas in captivity, like a zoo, they can live up to 20 years!

How do they reproduce?

Male and females gather only during the mating seasons. In temperate climates, ocelots mate at the end of the summer, whereas in tropical areas they reproduce throughout the whole year. Female ocelots have a gestation period of anything from between 79–82 days. The average litter size is two to three kittens. Breeding ocelots in captivity is an immense task!

What is their conservation status?

As of 2021, these wild cats are identified as Least Endangered species by the ICUN Red List.

Ocelot Fun Facts

What do ocelots look like?

Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) are small, but twice the size of housecats, they have distinctive markings in a wide variety of patterns, with orange, tan, and white coats with dark spots.

Ocelot facts are used for studies in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.

How cute are they?

Ocelots are twice the size of a house cat, but they are cats! And cats are cute even if they're a bit bigger! Their big eyes, long ringed tail, soft fur are the distinctive features that make them super cute!

How do they communicate?

Ocelots communicate with each other using scent-marking, body language, and a variety of vocalizations. Stiff legs, tail held straight down, and an arched back are the signs of a threatening posture.

How big is an ocelot?

Ocelots are two times larger in size than the common house cat species. They can grow from anywhere between 28.74-39.37 in.

How fast can an ocelot run?

Ocelots are quick, agile, and can run at a speed of up to 38 mph.

How much does an ocelot weigh?

Since ocelots are medium-sized, adult ocelots weigh between 17.63-34.17 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male ocelots are called torns and females are called queens.

What would you call a baby ocelot?

Baby ocelots are called kittens. Females usually give birth to two to three kittens when they reproduce.

What do they eat?

Ocelots eat rodents, iguanas, frogs, rabbits, and fish. In some cases, they are known to stalk monkeys and birds and hunt them as food. Their diet also consists of the meat of young deer, snakes, lizards, and fish. They have pointed fangs and sharp teeth that tear food like scissors. They tear their food to pieces and swallow them whole since they do not have teeth appropriate for chewing.

Are they slobbery?

Ocelots may be slobbery in cases of an extreme sense of relaxation. These spotted creatures usually sweat but from their paws and might leave paw prints in cases of extremely stressful situations.

Would they make a good pet?

Ocelots are wild and aggressive species with a strict diet and need for meat, hence they wouldn't make for good pets. But in some cases, there have been documentations of ocelots kept as pets. Famous Spanish painter Salvador Dali had a pet ocelot. But it is commonly advised not to keep wild animals as pets as they can be unpredictable and dangerous.

Did you know...

Compared to other cat species, ocelots kittens grow quite slowly, they start to explore their habitat at three months and remain with their mother for up to two years before seeking out new a habitat to establish as their territory.

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) lists 10 subspecies of ocelots. Due to complexities in molecular analysis, the taxonomy of ocelots is under review.

In zoos, ocelots live up to 20 years whereas, in the wild, ocelots live only 7-10 years. Ocelots are just like a house cat in their behavior, which means they laze around all day and are active at night when they hunt! The ancient Peruvian Moche people worshipped ocelots and often depicted them in their art.

Unlike their cousins, the smaller house cats, ocelots love to swim! They hunt for fish and other marine animals in rivers, and lakes.

Bigger cats like Jaguars and Pumas hunt ocelots and their kittens. Anacondas and Harpy eagles also hunt ocelots. Ocelots are active for 12 hours a day at least and travel distances of up to seven miles in that time, males generally covering twice the distance than females.

Ocelots and humans do not have positive interactions as the primary threat to ocelots is their destruction of habitat and deforestation caused by humans.

Ocelots are extremely territorial and have a territory that ranges from 2.4-56 square miles. Often they will fight to the death to keep a hold of their territory.

Characteristics and health issues

Free-roaming cats like ocelots pose small but important threats to human health. Diseases like rabies are often caused by the bites of these animals. They also carry harmful microbes and parasites in them like Toxoplasma gondii and Microsporum canis, which can be toxic to humans. Because of these issues, it is said that any human injury caused by feral cats should be handle with proper precautions.

Getting your own ocelot

In the United States of America, the sale of these spotted cats is banned almost all over the country. But buying ocelots is legal in the states of Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin as they have no laws against owning big cats as pets. If one was to buy an ocelot kitten, it'd cost them a huge amount of money, almost as high as $15,000.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our ocelot coloring pages.

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