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Ocelot[1]
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Leopardus
Species: L. pardalis
Binomial name
Leopardus pardalis
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Ocelot range
Ocelot fur coat

The Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), pronounced /ˈɒsəˌlɒt/, also known as the Painted Leopard, McKenney's Wildcat, Jaguatirica (in Brazil), Jaguarete (in Paraguay and Argentina), Tigrillo (in Ecuador), Cunaguaro (in Venezuela), or Manigordo (in Costa Rica and Panama) is a wild cat distributed over South and Central America and Mexico, but has been reported as far north as Arkansas and in Trinidad, in the Caribbean. North of Mexico, it is only found regularly in the extreme southern part of Texas[3], although there are rare sightings in Southern Arizona.[4]

The Ocelot's appearance is similar to that of the domestic cat. Its fur resembles that of a Clouded Leopard or Jaguar and was once regarded as particularly valuable. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Ocelots have been killed for their fur. The feline was classified a "vulnerable" endangered species from 1972 until 1996, but is now rated "least concern" by the 2008 IUCN Red List.

Contents

Etymology

The name ocelot comes from the Nahuatl word ōcēlōtl (pronounced [oːˈseːloːtɬ]), which usually refers to the Jaguar (Panthera onca) rather than the Ocelot.[5][6][7]

Taxonomy

The Ocelot's genus Leopardus consists of nine species similar to the Ocelot, such as Geoffroy's cat and the Margay, which are also endemic to South and Central America.

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Subspecies

The following are the currently recognized subspecies of Ocelot:[1]

Physical characteristics

The Ocelot measures up to 1 m (3'2") in length, plus 45 cm (1'6") tail length, and weighs 11.5–16 kg (25–35 pounds),[8] making it the largest of the generally dainty Leopardus wild cat genus. While similar in appearance to the Oncilla and Margay, which inhabit the same region, the Ocelot is larger. It has the lowest resting body temperature of any feline.[citation needed] It has a tawny to reddish-brown coat marked with black spots and rosettes. The fur is short, and lighter beneath. There are single white spots, called ocelli, on the backs of the ears, and there are two black lines on either side of the face. It has a black-banded tail.[9]

Behavior

The Ocelot is mostly nocturnal and very territorial. It will fight fiercely, sometimes to the death, in territorial disputes. In addition, the cat marks its territory with especially pungent urine. Like most felines, it is solitary, usually meeting only to mate. However, during the day it rests in trees or other dense foliage, and will occasionally share its spot with another Ocelot of the same sex. When mating, the female will find a den in a cave in a rocky bluff, a hollow tree, or a dense (preferably thorny) thicket. The gestation period is estimated to be 70 days. Generally the female will have two or three kittens in the autumn, born with their eyes closed and a thin covering of hair.

The Ocelot will sometimes take to the trees. Ocelots hunt over a range of 18 km2 (7 sq mi), taking mostly small mammals (deer, various rodents), reptiles and amphibians (lizards, turtles and frogs), crab, birds and fish.[9] Almost all of the prey that the Ocelot hunts is far smaller than itself. Studies suggest that it follows and finds prey via odor trails, but the Ocelot also has very good vision, including night vision. The white rings around the Ocelot's eyes help to reflect extra light into the eye at night.

Distribution and habitat

Moche Ocelot. 200 A.D. Larco Museum Collection Lima, Peru

The Ocelot is distributed over South and Central America and Mexico, but has been reported as far north as Texas and in Trinidad, in the Caribbean. Countries in this range are: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Nicaragua, Suriname, United States and Venezuela. It's likely extinct in Uruguay.[2]

The Ocelot once inhabited the chaparral thickets of the Gulf Coast of south and eastern Texas, and was found in Arizona. In the United States, it now ranges only in several small areas of dense thicket in South Texas. The Ocelot's continued presence in the U.S. is questionable, as a result largely of the introduction of dogs, being shot by ranchers, the loss of habitat, and the introduction of highways. Young male Ocelots are frequently killed by cars during their search for a territory. The feline was classified a "vulnerable" endangered species from 1972 till 1996, but is now rated "least concern" by the 2008 IUCN Red List.[2]

As pets

Salvador Dalí and Babou the ocelot

Like many wild cats, it is occasionally kept as a pet. Salvador Dalí frequently traveled with his pet Ocelot Babou,[10] even bringing it aboard the luxury ocean liner, SS France.[11] Musician Gram Parsons kept an Ocelot as a pet in the back yard swimming pool area of his family's Winter Haven, Florida home during his teens, in the mid-1960s.[12]

The Moche people of ancient Peru worshiped animals and often depicted the Ocelot in their art.[13]

References

  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 539. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3. 
  2. ^ a b c Caso, A., Lopez-Gonzalez, C., Payan, E., Eizirik, E., de Oliveira, T., Leite-Pitman, R., Kelly, M. & Valderrama, C. (2008). Leopardus pardalis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 22 March 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  3. ^ "The Nature Conservancy in Texas - Mammals - Ocelot". nature.org. http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/texas/animals/art25117.html. 
  4. ^ "North American Mammals - Carnivora - Felidae - Leopardus pardalis". Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=130. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  5. ^ "ocelot, n.". Oxford English Dictionary (draft revision Mar. 2004 ed.). 
  6. ^ Karttunen, Frances (1983). An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 176. 
  7. ^ Lockhart, James (2001). Nahuatl as Written: Lessons in Older Written Nahuatl, with Copious Examples and Texts. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. pp. 228. 
  8. ^ Burnie, David; Don E. Wilson (2001). Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. New York City: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7894-7764-5. 
  9. ^ a b Briggs, Mike; Peggy Briggs (2006). The Encyclopedia of World Wildlife. Parragon Books. ISBN 9781405436793. 
  10. ^ http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=list&lid=182510
  11. ^ Huggler, Justin. "Chic ship too toxic for scrapping". ssMaritime.com. http://www.ssmaritime.com/norway-Justin%20Huggler.htm. 
  12. ^ "Return of the grievous angel: New bio of Gram Parsons offers tragic insights". Austin American Statesman. http://www.staytonbonner.com/storage/Gram%20Parsons%20review-%20Statesman%2007.pdf. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  13. ^ Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera (1997). Katherine Berrin. ed. The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Treasures from the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York City: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 9780500018026. 

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OCELOT (Mexican Flalocelotl, literally field-jaguar, from Flalli, field, and ocelotl, tiger, jaguar), an American member (Felis pardalis) of the family Felidae, ranging from Arkansas in the north to Paraguay. The species is subject to great racial variation. The fur has, however, a tawny yellow or reddishgrey ground colour, marked with black spots, aggregated in streaks and blotches, or in elongated rings enclosing areas rather darker than the general ground-colour. In the typical form the total length may reach 4 ft.; the average measurement of the Ocelot (Felis pardalis). head and body lies between 26 in. and 33 in., 4nd of the tail between 11 in. and 15 in. The ocelot is essentially a forest cat, and a ready climber; its disposition is said to be fierce and bloodthirsty but in confinement it becomes tame and playful. In Asia the group is represented by the Tibetan Felis tristis.


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Simple English

Ocelot
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Leopardus
Species: L. pardalis
Binomial name
Leopardus pardalis
(Linnaeus, 1758)
File:Ocelot
Ocelot range

Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a wild cat distributed over South and Central America and Mexico, but has been reported as far north as Texas and in Trinidad, in the Caribbean. These fast hunters eat small mammals, birds, fish and snakes. They are also very good swimmers.


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