Ocelots are a member of the wild cat family that are similar in appearance to a domesticated cat. Their fur resembles a jaguar or leopard, which is where the animal gets its alternate names – the dwarf leopard or painted leopard. They were once hunted extensively for their fur, but fortunately this practice has been stopped. They can be found in South and Central America and as far north as Texas. Continue reading to find out more about the diet of the ocelot.
What do ocelots eat?
Like other wild cats the ocelot is a carnivore (meat eater) and cunning predator. However, unlike many other wild cats, they generally only hunt prey that is smaller than themselves. They use their good vision, including remarkable night vision, and sense of smell to hunt prey. They are usually solitary hunters, but will sometimes hunt together. The largest part of their diet is made up of rodents, rabbits, and opossums. They will also eat lizards, turtles, frogs, crabs, birds and fish. Interestingly, ocelots will also eat grass and this can make up to 20% of their diet. Scientists believe that they do this to aid digestion.
Did you know?
Due to hunting, ocelots were an endangered species from 1972 until 1996, but the numbers have recovered and they have now been removed from the list. However, there are 10 known subspecies of ocelot and some of these are considered to be endangered.