Scientific Name

Leopardus pardalis



IUCN Redlist Status

Least Concern


Ocelots are found throughout large parts of South and Central America. They are also located north into Mexico and even parts of southern United States.


They live in various habitats in these areas, but primarily in rainforests of South and Central America and brush and grasslands in Mexico.


Ocelots prey on small rodents, rabbits, lizards, snakes and birds. They may also on occasion take larger animals, but are generally too small to attack humans.


They are 2 - 3 feet in length, and have tails that are between 1 - 1.5 feet long.


At first glance, one of the more noticeable aspects of ocelots is their spots and stripes. At a closer look, ocelots have leopard or jaguar-like spots along their backs that may link to form striped patterns. The backs and heads of ocelots are a yellowish-orange color, and their bellies are white with some black spots. These colors and patterns likely act as camoflauge for ocelots in much of their habitat range. Ocelots have large ears and eyes, and spots and or stripes that extend from their eyes to their bodies.


Ocelots are primarily nocturnal which means they are active and hunt at night. They will use their excellent vision and hearing to locate prey in the darkness. There are also times when they will be active during the day. Like some other types of wild cats including jaguars, leopards and tigers, ocelots are solitary for most of the time. Male and female ocelots will meet during mating periods.


Female ocelots have pregnancy or gestation periods of 2 - 2.5 months. They will give birth to litters of 2 - 4 kittens.

Other Facts

Ocelots are endangered due to habitat loss and illegal poaching. Their fur is highly prized and traded illegally in some parts of their habitat.

Ocelots should be considered dangerous if encountered in the wild. They should not be approached as their behavior may be unpredictable.