Common Name: Ocelot
Scientific Name: Leopardus pardalis
Description: This lesser cat is covered with spots and "rosettes" in a striking pattern making them one of the most beautiful of all cats. You can frequently see the ocelots in the Safari Canyon presentation and where they live along Shoreline Trail.
Range: North to South America
Habitat: Varied. Forests, grasslands, even thorn scrub. Frequently found near rivers.
Diet: Carnivorous: small prey. Rodents are more than half their diet, but they also eat iguanas, fish, crustaceans, and some medium sized prey.
Social Life: Ocelots are solitary cats which occupy a territory exclusive of other individuals. Kittens stay with their mother for the first year. Females are mature when 18-22 months old; males mature at 2.5 years. After a gestation of 79-85 days, a small litter of 1 or 2 cubs is born. In the wild, ocelots have a life span of seven to ten years; outside the wild, ocelots live into their teens and some have exceeded twenty years.
Conservation: Endangered. Listed as Appendix I. During the early 1960s to mid-1970s, the ocelot was the spotted cat most heavily exploited by the fur trade. As many as 200,000 animals were taken annually for this purpose with each fur coat requiring the death of approximately 18 cats. With changes in protection and a shift in consumer demand, this effectively ceased since the late 1980s.