ocelot in rainforest tree

Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) are small cats that are only about 3 feet long (.9 meters). They have a white underbelly and the rest of their fur is spotted and striped.

Their body and facial features look similar to domestic cats - in fact, I have a brown tabby cat that looks similar to an ocelot. However, ocelots are somewhat larger and heavier than most domestic cats.

closeup view of ocelot

Like all cats, ocelots are carnivores and feed on small mammals, lizards, and birds, and to a lesser extent, fish. They are excellent climbers and swimmers. They are often found resting in trees during the day as shown in the above photo.

Their behavior is also similiar to that of domestic cats - they are nocturnal animals that hunt and feed at night. Also, like domestic cats they are solitary animals and very territorial.

Although they are not considered an endangered species at this time, their numbers are decreasing.

Ocelots are found in parts of southern North America, and Central and South America.