Leopardus pardalis

Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife
1130 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 1-800-385-9712



Ocelots range in color from light yellow to reddish gray, with dark spots and stripes. They have dark stripes on their cheeks and their tailed have rings of dark fur.

Ocelots are 20 to 40 inches long. Their tails are an additional ten to 15 inches. Ocelots weigh between 20 and 25 pounds.

An estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million are found worldwide. 80 to 120 are found in two isolated populations in southeast Texas.

In captivity, ocelots can live 20 years while in the wild they live seven to ten years.

Once ranging as far east as Arkansas and Louisiana, throughout Texas, Mexico, ocelots are currently found in extreme southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. They are also found in every country south of the United States except Chile.

Ocelots live in a variety of habitats, ranging from mangrove forests, coastal marshes, savannah grasslands, pastures, thorn scrub and tropical forests. All of these habitats provide only live in areas with dense vegetative cover.

Ocelots are carnivores, they hunt and eat animals such as rodents, rabbits, young deer, birds, snakes and fish.

Ocelots are strongly nocturnal, resting in trees or dense brush during the day. Ocelots are very active, traveling from one to five miles per night. Males usually travel further than females. They capture an average of one prey item for every 3.1 hours of travel.


Following a 79 to 85 day gestation, young are born in litters of one to three. Kittens are independent after about one year, but may stay with their mother for an additional year.


Habitat destruction for agriculture, hunting for their fur, pet trade.


CITES* Appendix I, Endangered Species Act.

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty with more than 144 member countries. Appendix I listed species cannot be traded commercially. Appendix II listed species can be traded commercially only if it does not harm their survival.

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