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Twice the size of the average house cat, the ocelot is a sleek animal with a gorgeous

dappled coat.

Hunting Abilities
These largely nocturnal cats use keen sight and hearing to hunt rabbits, rodents, iguanas,
fish, and frogs. They also take to the trees and stalk monkeys or birds. Unlike many cats,
they do not avoid water and can swim well.
Like other cats, ocelots are adapted for eating meat. They have pointed fangs used to
deliver a killing bite, and sharp back teeth that can tear food like scissors. Ocelots do not
have teeth appropriate for chewing, so they tear their food to pieces and swallow it
whole. Their raspy tongues can clean a bone of every last tasty morsel.

Ocelots hunt prey on the ground and climb trees to hunt, as well. They are carnivores, so
they only eat meat. As carnivores, ocelots have special teeth for eating meat. They are
picky eaters; they will remove the fur and feathers from their prey before they eat it. Then
their sharp incisors tear meat from the bone and their back teeth cut the meat into
smaller pieces like scissors.

Typically, their prey includes frogs, iguanas, rabbits, fish, crabs, rodents, monkeys and
birds, according to National Geographic. To prevent waste, ocelots will hide their prey and
come back to finish it when they are hungry again.

Many ocelots live under the leafy canopies of South American rain forests, but they also
inhabit brushlands and can be found as far north as Texas. These cats can adapt to human
habitats and are sometimes found in the vicinity of villages or other settlements.
These solidary wild cats are nocturnal, which means they are active during the night and
sleep during the day. They sleep in trees and bushes. Each night, they travel 1 to 5 miles
(1.6 to 8 kilometers) to hunt, and kill one animal per every 3.1 hours of travel, according to
Defenders of Wildlife.

Social Life of the Ocelot
The ocelot is a solitary animal, which hunts and roams its territorial range (around 20
square miles) alone. The male marks his territory with typically strong urine and is careful
not to intrude into other male ocelots' territories. Ocelots' acute sight, sense of hearing
and smell make them natural candidates as night predators. Although they are agile
climbers and often kill and feed on monkeys, birds, and squirrels, they primarily hunt on
the ground. On the ground, ocelots feed on reptiles, fish, rodents and rabbits, and young

Why is the Ocelot an Endangered Species?
In the United States and Mexico, the danger of extinction lies in the encroachment of
development upon the Ocelot's habitat (thick, brushy areas where they raise their young.)
To some degree, the encroachment of human influence on habitats also plays a role in the
decline of ocelot populations in rainforests and jungles. Two other factors in the 1960s led
to the reduction in the population of ocelots:

The ocelots' fine fur has made them the target of innumerable hunters, and in many areas
they are quite rare, including Texas, where they are in danger of extinction. Ocelots are
protected in the United States and in most other countries where they live.
Female ocelots have litters of two or three dark-colored kittens. In the northern localities,
the females live in autumn, while in tropical climates the breeding season may not be