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Ocelots in the wild nature

Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is one of the most vivid representatives from the cat family. Latin name of this mysterious predator means “similar to leopard”, however there, where an ocelot lives – in the countries of Latin America and in the south of North American state Texas – there are no leopards. And the word “ocelot” has rather Aztec roots and comes from "océlotl", i.e. "a field tiger".

Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)
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Ocelots lead a very secret lifestyle and they usually show their activity during hours of darkness. An ocelot feels out of reach of danger only there, where it is surrounded by a thick wall of vegetation – in tropical forests or in dense brushwood.

Ocelots live alone and hunt first of all at night. They like hiding on the trees during the day heat. Despite excellent abilities to climb the trees and stones, they hunt on the ground. To hunt, an ocelot shall compulsory have a secure hiding-place, from which it can track down its take, and it could hardly survive without dense vegetation. As all small cats, ocelots have a very delicate ear and eye.

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The take of ocelots mainly includes small mammals and birds, however they sometimes eat snakes. Equally deftly it hunts both on the ground and under the tops of high trees, where it runs after monkeys. Besides, an ocelot is an excellent swimmer.

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The special layer on the internal part of eyes allows them to see at night as well as a human can see during the day. The night time is its environment; it is in the dark when it feels mostly comfortable. In addition to hearing and vision, the smell helps an ocelot during hunting – its nose is more sensitive than at human but it is inferior to the dog’s nose. The long moustaches serve as antennas that allow orienting in the space. As at most representatives of the cat family, the teeth of an ocelot are supposed to eat meat. However its teeth are absolutely not fit to chew the food, thus it swallows the torn off pieces of meat all-in-all.

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There are white spots ("false eyes") on the back side of each ear, which help to disorient predators and help cubs to follow to mother through the underbrush of the thick forest.

Ocelot is an owner of the most beautiful markings in the whole animal world. Its golden coat is everywhere covered with the most fantastic combinations of strips, spots and dots, pats, tones and points. The lower part of the body is always lighter, with lateral picture; hereby the back spots on the stomach join into strips. Typically the spots on the back form the strips but here they are stretched with lighter color than along the edges. The strong pawns of animal are covered with small speckles; the soles are dark.

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An ocelot in appearance resembles a long tail cat or a leopard cub but it is larger that a long tail cat and less than a leopard.

Ocelots are singletons that reverently guard their personal space.

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Mating may be carried out at any season of the year. One or two cubs are born in two and a half months; they take the mother’s milk during seven weeks. They leave their native area when they are about two years.

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The coat of ocelot used to be a popular commodity for a long time. For example, in 1969 over 133 thousands coats of ocelots were imported to the USA. In 1980-ies the ocelot fur coats were sold for USD 40,000 and a living ocelot as a pet was sold for USD 800. Because of intensive hunting an ocelot has nowadays become a very rare animal.

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Thanks to the new interstate agreements the hunting for ocelot, as well as the sale of any products, made of ocelot, is forbidden.

Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)
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Characteristics

Posteriors: 1-2 kittens in the brood. The newborns are covered with soft rare fur. The eyes open on the 15th-18th day. The lactation lasts up to 7 weeks. The cubs leave their mother and its territory in two years.

Subspecies of ocelot:

Life environment of ocelot – Latin America

  • Kingdom: Animals
  • Phylum: Chordate animals
  • Class: Mammals
  • Order:Predatory
  • Family: Cat’s family
  • Subfamily: Small cats
  • Genus: Tiger cats
  • Species: Ocelot
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