Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) - Wiki
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[Photo] A photo of an adult ocelot. It looks like this ocelot is pregnant. Author: Nancy Vandermay
The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), also known as the painted leopard or McNenney's wildcat, is a wild cat distributed over South and Central America and Mexico, but has been reported as far north as Texas and in Trinidad, in the Caribbean. It can be up to 100 cm (3'2") in length, plus 45 cm (1'6") tail length, and weighs 10-15 kg (about 20-33 pounds). While similar in appearance to the oncilla and the margay, who inhabit the same region, the ocelot is larger.
The ocelot is mostly nocturnal and very territorial. They will fight fiercely, sometimes to the death, in territorial disputes. Like most felines, they are solitary, usually meeting only to mate. However, during the day they rest in trees or other dense foliage, and will occasionally share their spot with another ocelot of the same gender. When mating, the female will find a den in a cave in a rocky bluff, a hollow tree, or a dense (preferably thorny) thicket. The gestation period is estimated to be 70 days. Generally the female will have 2-4 kittens, born in the autumn with their eyes closed and a thin covering of hair.
While ocelots are well equipped for an arboreal lifestyle, and will sometimes take to the trees, they are mostly terrestrial. Prey includes almost any small animal: monkeys, snakes, rodents, fish, amphibians and birds are common prey, as are small domestic animals such as baby pigs and poultry. Almost all of the prey that the ocelot hunts is far smaller than itself. Studies suggest that they follow and find prey via odour trails, but ocelots also have very keen vision, including night vision.
The ocelot's physical appearance is similar to that of the domestic cat. Its fur resembles that of a jaguar and was once regarded as particularly valuable. As a result, hundreds of thousands of ocelots have been killed for their fur. The feline was classified a "vulnerable" endangered species from the 1980s until 1996, but is now generally considered "least concern" by the 2002 IUCN Red List. (The Texas Ocelot subspecies, Leopardus pardalis albescens, was still classified as endangered as of the IUCN's 1996 red list.
Ocelots once inhabited the chaparral thickets of the Gulf coast in south and eastern Texas, and were found in Arizona. In the United States, they now range only in several small areas of dense thicket in South Texas. The ocelot's continued presence in the U.S. is questionable, due largely to the introduction of dogs, the loss of habitat, and the introduction of highways. Young male ocelots are frequently killed by cars during their search for a territory.
Like many wild cats, they are occasionally kept as pets. Salvador Dali frequently traveled with his pet ocelot, even bringing it aboard the luxury cruise liner SS France.
Leopardus pardalis pardalis, Amazon Rainforest
Leopardus pardalis aequatorialis, northern Andes
Leopardus pardalis albescens, Mexico, southwestern Texas
Leopardus pardalis maripensis, Venezuela, Guyana, Trinidad,Barbados,Grenada
Leopardus pardalis mearnsi, Central America
Leopardus pardalis mitis, Argentina, Paraguay
Leopardus pardalis nelsoni, Mexico
Leopardus pardalis pseudopardalis, Colombia
Leopardus pardalis puseaus, Ecuador
Leopardus pardalis sonoriensis, Mexico
Leopardus pardalis steinbachi, Bolivia
In popular culture
In the popular video game series Metal Gear Solid, the most popular villain is code-named Revolver Ocelot.
In cartoon series The Fairly OddParents, Timmy Turner once had a pet ocelot.
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