Ocelots | South American Cats

Today at Light Future Art, we’re shining a spotlight on ocelots and sharing some fun facts about these beautiful South American cats.

Adult Ocelot in Tree1. Ocelots can be found in all of South America except for Chile, as well as in Mexico and some of the Southwestern United States.
2. The ocelot is also known as the dwarf leopard or painted leopard.
3. Ocelots are very secretive and stay out of the way of humans, which makes it difficult for them to be observed and studied in the wild. They live in areas with dense vegetation that is difficult for humans to navigate.
4. The diet of an ocelot usually includes birds, rodents, amphibians, monkeys, and fish, but they also can eat larger prey such as iguanas.
5. Ocelots are quite particular about their food. They tend to remove all feathers and fur from their prey before they can begin eating.


Ocelot Kitten6. The name “ocelot” comes from an Aztec word, “tlalocelot”, meaning “field tiger”.
7. Ocelots communicate with one another through scent marking, body language, and vocalization. They are very territorial and mark off their homes with scratches on trees and leaving a border with their scent.
8. Ocelot kittens are blind for the first two weeks of their life. They are dependent on their mother for half a year but usually continue to live in her territory for up to two years.
9. Kittens are born without spots. Their eyes are also blue at birth, but after a few months, they turn golden brown.
10. Ocelots are nocturnal and spend the day sleeping in trees or bushes.


Close-up Ocelot Head11. Unlike most other small cats, ocelots aren’t averse to water and are strong swimmers.
12. In one night, an ocelot typically travels one or two miles looking for food, but they can travel as far as five miles in a single night if need be.
13. Ocelots are in the family felinae, which includes house cats and other small wild cats, and not panthera, which is big cats like tigers and leopards.
14. Not being big cats, ocelots cannot roar. Instead, it has been reported that when excited, ocelots make a chuckling sound.
15. Like fingerprints or zebras’ stripes, the spot and stripe pattern on each ocelot is unique.


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