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  • Ocelot is one of the most beautiful wild cats. This nocturnal predator lives in virgin forests of Central and South America. The ocelot’s scientific name “Felis pardalis” possibly to translated from Latin as “cat-leopard.” It’s truth, the beast resembles a little a leopard in miniature. It is believed that the word “ocelot” is derived from the Aztec word “océlotl”, that means “field tiger.” However, it is extremely rare in the fields. Depending on their habitat ocelots are divided into subspecies (over a dozen ones).

    Ocelot is a relatively big cat. The male’s length can reach about 130 cm, females’ – 80 cm. The average tail length is about 30-40 cm. Weight of a large cat can reach 15 kg, female’s one – 10 kg. Height of the shoulder is up to 50 cm.

    The animal’s powerful head is on a strong massive neck, ears are rounded, body is wide and the tail is pointed at the end. Fur is very beautiful: thick, shiny, rather colorful. The main color of the fur is brownish-gray or yellowish-brown. Belly and lower jaw always is lighter and can be completely white. Spots and stripes cover the whole body. The tail is striped, its tip is black. There are black stripes on the face: on the forehead, near eyes and on the cheeks. Spots around the eyes are bright, sometimes white. Ocelot has rather large  pink nose and expressive eyes with oval pupils.

    Ocelots’ habitat is the vast territory from Argentina, Brazil and Peru to the US states of Arizona and Arkansas. These wild cats prefer tropical and subtropical forests, they raise in the mountains in the territory of Brazil.

    In spite ocelot has a terrestrial way of life, it climbs, jumps and swims perfectly. The animal tries to avoid open spaces.

    Predator hunts on small prey from an ambush. It eats  rodents (rabbits, mice, agouti), small monkeys, reptiles (lizards, snakes), amphibians, birds and crustaceans. It is able to hunt, jumping on the victim from the tree. Sometimes it attacks  small livestock and poultry.

    Ocelot is nocturnal, it can hunt in a dark time. It can see well in the dark. Sharp teeth help him kill the victim with one bite. But it is not able to chew a prey, so he eats, consuming large pieces of meat. Large cats sleep in the hollows, in the bushes or trees during a day. The ocelot’s nature is quite quarrelsome, its lifestyle is solitary. Except, of course, the mating period.

    Males’ puberty age comes in 30 months, females age of puberty is 18 months. Ocelots’ mating occurs at any period of the year. Female makes a lair for kittens in the bushes, in tree hollows, caves. Pregnancy lasts up to 80 days. As a rule, one or two kittens are born. Kittens open their eyes about 2 weeks after the birth. Small cats milk out mother up to 7 weeks. After this period mother hunts to feed them. Young ocelots leave mother’s territory at the age of 2 years. The elder males are a threat for young individuals. Young animal either finds a free territory or recaptures it from other ocelots.

    The main enemy of ocelot in wild nature is considered a jaguar. But much more falls to the beast from a man. Ocelots are highly huntable for their beautiful fur, from which warm coats were sewed. Besides, animals were attempted to tame. Beautiful and graceful beast was highly evaluated as a pet. That’s why many ocelots were caught and shipped to various countries of the world. The beast is quite easy to tame, but it does not become domesticated completely. It is forbidden to sale goods from fur of this animal at present time, but poaching continues. In spite forests are the traditional ocelots’ habitat the process of deforestation also leads to reduction of these beautiful animals.