Ocelots, also known by the name dwarf leopards, are a wild species of cat. They are similar in appearance to a domestic cat, with a distinctive spotted pattern on their coat. Ocelots are larger than a house cat and can grow up to 100 cm (39 in) in length and reach a weight of 18 kg (40 lbs). Ocelots are nocturnal animals (most commonly active during the night) and will hunt in a range of about 18 square kilometers (6.9 sq mi). They are solitary and fiercely territorial animals and they usually live in areas that do not overlap, unless it is breeding season. A male ocelot can have a territory as large as 46 square kilometers (18 sq mi), while the territory of females rarely exceeds 15 square kilometers (5.8 sq mi). Let’s find out where these animals live.
Where do ocelots live?
The main distribution of ocelots occurs throughout much of the northern and central regions of South America. They are also found throughout Central America, in parts of Mexico, and as far north as Texas in the United States. They are also found on the islands of Margarita and Trinidad in the Caribbean Sea. The following countries support populations of the ocelot: Venezuela, Argentina, the United States, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivia, Suriname, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Guyana. The following map shows the current range of the ocelot.
The ocelot will only live in areas of relatively thick vegetation cover. Common habitats include: rainforest, mangrove swamp, savanna and other types of forests. However, they will move into areas that are more open during the cover of night.
Did you know?
The ocelot was listed as an endangered species until 1996. The population has now recovered that this species is no longer considered to be under threat.
The ocelot was once found throughout parts of Texas, Arizona, Louisiana and Arkansas. Today, they are only found in a small portion of Texas with rare sightings in Arizona.