The solitary ocelot slinks through moonlight dappled forests, camouflaged by its distinctive spotted coat. This striking beauty is secretive and stays in the shadows.
Ocelots have short, close fur marked with both solid and open dark spots that sometimes run in lines along the body. The tail is ringed with black or has black bars on the upper surface. The large ears are rounded with a prominent white spot on the back. These medium sized cats weigh 15.5-28.75 lb. with a head and body length of 26-39.25 in. and a tail length of 10.25-16.25 in.
The Zoo is protecting wildlife and habitats in Latin America through the Scott Neotropical Fund.
Ocelots eyesight is six times better than humans, so has no trouble tracking down prey at night.
Solitary, with breeding females occupying non-overlapping territories of .3-5.8 sq. mi. Males have larger territories which overlap those of several breeding females. Ocelots are nocturnal. As they move about their territories they get to know their neighbors and they may stay together for several hours to as much as a couple of days. While some of these encounters are for mating, purposes of other associations are unknown.
Young begin to follow their mother at about 2 mo. but remain dependent on her for several more months. Young ocelots disperse from their natal range when they are about 2 years old. Females raise their young alone and may spend 17 hours a day hunting in order to find enough prey to support herself and her cub. The long gestation, small litter size and slow maturation of young may be adaptations for living under conditions where food is hard to find. In the northern part of their range births are normally in the fall and winter. In the tropics it is not likely there is seasonal breeding.