|Range of the ocelot|
The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) // is a wild cat native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as the population is estimated to comprise more than 40,000 mature individuals and is considered stable. Its fur was once regarded as particularly valuable, but legal trade of its fur ceased decades ago. In the United States, it inhabits southern Texas and southern Arizona.
The ocelot is a member of the genus Leopardus, which is part of the Felidae family. The species was first described in 1758 by the Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae as Felis pardalis, who placed it in the genus Felis along with the domestic cat, Eurasian lynx, jaguar, leopard, lion and tiger.
The ocelot's fur is extensively marked with solid black markings on a creamy, tawny, yellowish, reddish grey or grey background colour. The spots on head and limbs are small, but markings on the back, cheeks and flanks are open or closed bands and stripes. A few dark stripes run straight from the back of the neck up to the tip of the tail. Its neck and undersides are white, the insides of the legs are marked with a few horizontal streaks. Its round ears are marked with a bright white spot. Its fur is short, about 0.8 cm (0.31 in) long on the belly, but with longer, about 1 cm (0.39 in) long guard hairs on the back. It has 28 to 30 teeth, with the dental formula 3.1.2–3.1. Its eyes are brown but reflect golden when illuminated. It is a medium sized cat cat with a head-and-body length of between 55 and 100 cm (22 and 39 in) and a 25.5 to 41 cm (10.0 to 16.1 in) long tail. Females weigh 6.6–11.3 kg (15–25 lb) and males 7–15.5 kg (15–34 lb). Its spoor measures nearly 2 cm × 2 cm (0.79 in × 0.79 in).
English naturalist Richard Lydekker commented that the ocelot is "one of the most difficult members of the feline family to describe". In 1929, wildlife author Ernest Thompson Seton described the ocelot's coat as "the most wonderful tangle of stripes, bars, chains, spots, dots and smudges ... which look as though they were put on as the animal ran by."
The ocelot can be easily confused with the margay, but differs in being twice as heavy, having a greater head-and-body length, a shorter tail, smaller eyes relative to the size of the head, and different cranial features. It is similar in size as the bobcat. Larger individuals have occasionally been recorded. The jaguar is notably larger and heavier, and has rosettes instead of spots and stripes.
The ocelot is usually solitary and active around twilight and at night. It scent-marks its territory by spraying urine. The territories of males are 3.5–46 km2 (1.4–17.8 sq mi) large, while those of females cover 0.8–15 km2 (0.31–5.79 sq mi). Territories of females rarely overlap, whereas the territory of a male includes those of two to three females. Social interaction between sexes is minimal, though a few adults have been observed together even in non-mating periods, and some juveniles interact with their parents. In Peru’s Cocha Cashu Biological Station, radio-collared individuals rested during the day in dens below large trees or other sheltered sites on the ground. They started to be active earliest in the late afternoon and moved between 3.2 and 17 hours until latest dawn, when they returned to their dens. Their usual pace of walking was about 300 m (980 ft) per hour when hunting. They moved up to 1.4 km (0.87 mi) per hour when heading to a known kill site or patrolling their territory.
Ocelot densities vary between study sites, habitats and seasons from 2.3 individuals per 100 km2 (39 sq mi) in Belize's Chiquibul National Park to 40 individuals per 100 km2 (39 sq mi) in Venezuelan Llanos. A density of 60 individuals per 100 km2 (39 sq mi) was recorded in a transitional chaco-Chiquitano forest in Bolivia's Kaa Iya National Park. It is thought that ocelot density is lower in areas with less rainfall. Barro Colorado Island holds the highest ocelot density recorded: 1.59–1.74 per square kilometre (4.1–4.5/sq mi). This is probably due to higher prey availability, increased protection from poaching and reduced occurrence of large predators.
Ocelots are carnivores and prey on small mammals, such as armadillos, opossums and rabbits, rodents, small birds, fish, insects and reptiles. According to studies, primates prevail in the diet of ocelots in southeastern Brazil, and iguanas are the main prey of Mexican ocelots. An ocelot typically preys on animals that weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 lb). It rarely targets large animals such as deer and peccaries. An ocelot requires 600–800 grams (21–28 oz) of food every day to satisfy its energy requirements. The composition of the diet may vary by season; in Venezuela, ocelots were found to prefer iguanas and rodents in the dry season and then switch to land crabs in the wet season. A study showed that ocelots are similar to margays and oncillas in dietary preferences, but the oncilla focuses on tree-living marsupials and birds while the margay is not as selective. Ocelots have been observed following scent trails to acquire prey. Two hunting strategies have been observed: moving at a speed as slow as 0.3 km/h (0.2 mph) on the lookout for prey, or waiting for 30 to 60 minutes at a certain place and then moving to another place, walking at a speed of 0.8–1.4 km/h (0.5–0.9 mph). They tend to eat the kill immediately; they remove the feathers before eating birds.
Both male and female ocelots produce a long-range "yowl" in the mating season as well as short-range vocalizations like "meow"s. Ocelots may mate at any time of the year, and the time when peaks occur varies geographically – peaks have been observed during autumn and winter in Mexico and Texas, and during autumn in Argentina and Paraguay. Oestrus lasts four to five days, and recurs every 25 days in a non-pregnant female. A study in southern Brazil showed that sperm production in ocelots, margays as well as oncillas peaks in summer. Observations of captive ocelots suggest that a mating pair will spend more time together; both will scent-mark extensively and may even eat less.
A litter of one to three is born after a gestational period of 79 to 83 days. Births take place in dens, usually located in dense vegetation. A newborn kitten weighs 200–340 grams (7.1–12.0 oz). A study in southern Texas showed that a mother will use two to three dens, and keep a litter in a den for 13 to 64 days. The eyes open 15 to 18 days after birth. Kittens begin to leave the den at three months, but remain with their mother for up to two years, before dispersing to establish their own territory. In comparison to other felids, ocelots have a relatively longer duration between births and a narrow litter size. Ocelots live for up to 20 years in captivity.
The ocelot is distributed extensively over South America, including the Margarita and Trinidad islands, Central America, Mexico and a small population in southern Texas. Countries in this range are: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Venezuela. The cat is likely extinct in Uruguay.
It inhabits tropical forest, thorn forest, mangrove swamps and savanna at elevations up to 1,200 m (3,900 ft). It prefers areas with relatively dense vegetation cover, but occasionally also hunts in more open areas at night. In Mexico's Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve, four ocelots were recorded at elevations of 1,934 to 2,059 m (6,345 to 6,755 ft) in cloud and pine forests, and also in a patch of wild perennial teosinte.
The ocelot once inhabited the chaparral thickets of the Gulf Coast of south and eastern Texas, and could be found in Arizona, Louisiana, and Arkansas. In the United States, it now ranges only in several small areas of dense thicket in South Texas and is rarely sighted in Arizona. On November 7, 2009, an ocelot was photographed in the mountains of Cochise County, Arizona. This was the first such verifiable evidence of the feline's presence in the state. In February 2011, the Arizona Game and Fish Department confirmed the sighting of another ocelot in the Huachuca Mountains of southern Arizona. Most surviving Texas ocelots are in the shrublands remaining at or near the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge near Brownsville, where only 30–35 animals remain.
The remnant U.S. ocelot population in south Texas has declined from 80–120 individuals in 1995 to fewer than 50 in recent years, with about half of ocelot deaths resulting from automobile accidents. The destruction of habitat is the main threat to their survival. In addition, this animal is sought by poachers in order to market their skin, because of the aesthetic values it has. At the level of America, its main threats are loss and fragmentation of habitat, illegal trade in specimens and skins, hunting and predation retaliation for poultry species. Natural predators of ocelots include jaguar, cougar, the harpy eagle, and species of boa.
In Trinidad, habitat fragmentation, as well as direct exploitation via illegal poaching, are major threats to the survival of the remnant populations of ocelots on the island. No empirical studies have been conducted to reliably estimate population status on the island. Historical records indicate that the species once existed on the island of Tobago, but it has long been extirpated there.
The name ocelot comes from the Nahuatl word ōcēlōtl (pronounced [oːˈseːloːt͡ɬ]), which usually refers to the jaguar (Panthera onca) rather than the ocelot. Another possible origin for the name is the Latin cellatus ("having little eyes" or "marked with eye like spots"), in reference to the cat's spotted coat. Other names for the ocelot include cunaguaro, manigordo, mathuntori, ocelote, onsa, pumillo, tigri-kati and tigrillo. In Brazil they are called jacatirica, jaguatirica, maracajá, maracajá-açu and gato-do-mato.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
|Wikispecies has information related to Leopardus pardalis|
|Look up ocelot in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
None of the audio/visual content is hosted on this site. All media is embedded from other sites such as GoogleVideo, Wikipedia, YouTube etc. Therefore, this site has no control over the copyright issues of the streaming media.
All issues concerning copyright violations should be aimed at the sites hosting the material. This site does not host any of the streaming media and the owner has not uploaded any of the material to the video hosting servers. Anyone can find the same content on Google Video or YouTube by themselves.
The owner of this site cannot know which documentaries are in public domain, which has been uploaded to e.g. YouTube by the owner and which has been uploaded without permission. The copyright owner must contact the source if he wants his material off the Internet completely.