Common Name: Ocelot – also known as wild cat
Range: The Ocelots is an animal that is found mainly in forests throughout the Costa Rica. Ocelots live in a variety of forested habitats found in Arizona, Texas, Mexico, Central America, and South America, including northern Argentina, Ecuador and Paraguay and Costa Rica. They are also available in national parks of Costa Rica such as Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; Santa Rosa National Park, it could also be seen in La Selva, San Vito, San Jose, and Cerro de la Muerte.
Size: The size of an ocelot is twice as the house cat. Adult ocelots are 36 to 40 inches in length, 18 inches in height, and 20 to 40 pounds in weight. Females are smaller than males. Tail length is between 30 and 45 centimeters (12-18 inches).
Weight: The Ocelot is weighing from 11 kg to 16 kg (24 lb to 35 lb).
Diet: Ocelots are carnivores; the Ocelots feed on almost any prey they can overpower, including birds, small- to medium-sized mammals, small dear, monkeys, frogs, reptiles and rodents.
Average life span: The Ocelot life span is 8-11years. In captivity, ocelots can live 20 years.
Habitat: Ocelots are available in swampy savannah, scrub and forested areas of South USA, Central and South America. Many ocelots live under the leafy canopies of South American rain forests, but they also inhabit brush lands 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 as it can live in a variety of habitats. They are available in remote and mountainous areas. All three species can be found on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Ocelots are generally solitary rodents, coming together only to breed. After a gestation period of 79 – 85 days, 1 to 3 kittens are born in a den. At the time of birth they weigh roughly 90 g (3.2 oz), their eyes are closed and they are covered in a thin layer of fur.
Female Ocelots reach sexual maturity at approximately 2 years of age and males at approximately 2.5 years of age. They generally mate every other year and kittens tend to be born between September and November.
Their main predators are coyotes, bobcats, wild dogs and humans.
Ocelots are also known as:
McKenney’s Wild Cat
Manigordo (in Costa Rica)
Jaguatirica (in Brazil)
The fur color of the Ocelot is dark brown with irregular shaped stripes and spots, edged with black on a yellow/tawny background give this flexible, medium size cat a distinctive appearance. Ocelot is grouped, together with the Margay. The cat’s coloration can differ with its habitat.
The ocelots hunting method is varied and is carried out generally by night – its victim includes small deer, rodents, reptiles, rabbits and fish depends on availability. The ocelot can swims well and can not climb as Margay, but can hunt for birds and also sleep in the lower branches of trees in its forest habitat. Male and female cats often share territories that can be up to 3 square miles in area. They are fast runners and good swimmers and are attracted to the sound of ripe fruits hitting the ground. They make burrows under rocks and trees, where they bury food when it is abundant. Ocelots are very important in seed dispersal, as some of the buried seeds are forgotten and germinate into new trees.
The ocelot are animals of the cat family, commonly distributed in Costa Rica. They somehow resemble the leopard and are thus known are ‘dwarf-leopard’. The appearance is also similar to the domestic cat in terms of shape and size. Earlier they were classified as vulnerable-endangered but not they come under the category of least-concern. The reason for their hunting was the high resemblance to the leopard and jaguar which have an appealing fur. This makes the fur of Ocelot very valuable.
The size ranges from 70 to 100 cm lengthwise and have a 25 to 45 cm long tail. While they may look similar to margay as well as Ocilla but they are much larger in size. The fur is very smooth and has a sleek appearance. The color of the coat may vary between reddish brown to grayish in color. The ears are generally well rounded and small in size with a set of large paws. They have linings on their faces as well as a band on their tails. The breeding cycle is very slow with a mating season once in two years. The mating process may occur at any point of time of the year. This gives result to the birth of usually two kittens.
Their habitat mostly includes those with dense vegetation. The most suitable places for them are the mangrove swamps, tropical forest and savannas. The average elevation is around 1200 m. They generally prey during nights usually in the open grassy grounds. They are skilled hunters and have smaller animals as their food. The Ocelot is also very popular in the culture of Costa Rica. They constantly feature in different art forms like painting and sculpture from earlier times and they were even worshiped in ancient times. These cats also find their way into some homes as pets.