Ocelot – Spotted American Cat
The ocelot is a wild cat, about twice the size of a housecat. It is found in the Western Hemisphere, from Texas in the southwestern United States down to Argentina in South America. It lives in tropical forests, grasslands, and brush. Its scientific name is Leopardus pardalis. It is also known as the dwarf leopard.
An adult animal is about 71 to 89 centimeters long and weighs about 11 to 16 kilograms. Females are usually smaller than males.
Its fur is yellowish gray with small black spots on the head, two black stripes on each cheek, and black stripes along the neck. The coat helps the animal to hide.
Ocelots sleep during the day, usually high above the ground. At night they hunt on the territory of 18 square kilometers, mainly small mammals (various rodents), reptiles and amphibians (lizards, turtles and frogs), crabs, birds and fish.
These animals are quite good swimmers.
They are solitary animals and meet only to mate. A female gives birth to two or three young. The kittens leave the mother and start living on their own when they are a year old.
People hunt the ocelot for its fur, and so the number of ocelots in the wild has shrunk. Some people keep ocelots as pets.
In captivity, ocelots live up to 20 years.
Salvador Dalí frequently traveled with his pet Ocelot Babo, he even took him on board a luxury airliner SS France.