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Ocelot: Appearance, Description Of The Cat, Features Of Keeping At Home, Owner Reviews
Ocelot: Appearance, Description Of The Cat, Features Of Keeping At Home, Owner Reviews
Video: Ocelot: Appearance, Description Of The Cat, Features Of Keeping At Home, Owner Reviews
Video: Clyde the Ocelot 2023, February

Ocelot is the favorite cat of the Aztec gods

Ocelot stands on a trail in the jungle and looks up
Ocelot stands on a trail in the jungle and looks up

Ocelots, along with jaguars, belong to the ancient inhabitants of the South American jungle. In the era of the Aztecs and Incas, these predators regularly brought confusion in the villages, killing poultry. Why cats were disliked and even feared. But times are changing, and today ocelots are welcome guests of zoos and exhibitions. And for the wealthy inhabitants of the planet, it is also a valuable pet, which emphasizes the status of the owner due to the exotic look of its fur coat.


  • 1 Where does the ocelot come from?

    1.1 Video: two ocelots playing with each other in the nursery

  • 2 The seductive beauty of the ocelot

    2.1 Photo gallery: ocelots in all their glory

  • 3 Ocelot in the wild

    • 3.1 Where "leopard-like" live
    • 3.2 How ocelots live and hunt
    • 3.3 Behavior and reproduction
  • 4 Ocelot life in captivity

    • 4.1 What is the nature of the "forced" ocelot
    • 4.2 How to maintain an ocelot
    • 4.3 How to provide an ocelot with a healthy diet
  • 5 How to legally buy an ocelot
  • 6 Owner reviews

Where does the ocelot come from?

The homeland of these bright cats is two continents - all of South America is inhabited by numerous subspecies of ocelot. And on the neighboring part of the American continent, animals have chosen the central region, including Mexico and nearby states, as well as the southern states of the United States.

Ocelot stands in the grass next to a log and looks forward
Ocelot stands in the grass next to a log and looks forward

Ocelots are indigenous to Central and South America

Zoologists have no exact information about why the ocelots were named that way. Some scientists say that the name of the species comes from the modified Aztec word tlacelot, which means something like "field tiger" or "steppe jaguar". Other researchers generally believe that it all began with the tribal name Océlotl, which was used to refer to groups of Indians on the Texas prairie. Well, the official name of this type of feline looks like Felis pardalis, which is translated from Latin as "leopard cat". Indeed, graceful purrs are similar to young leopards, only the animals belong to different genera within their motley family.

The history of the ocelot, as well as similar predators with an elegant fur coat, is very sad. Currently, the animal is listed in the Red Book due to a significant reduction in the number of the species throughout the 20th century.

Head of an ocelot sitting on a black background and looking up
Head of an ocelot sitting on a black background and looking up

Ocelots are still illegally exterminated for the sake of beautiful fur

It all started with the fact that in the mid-1960s. fashion houses around the world began to use the leopard print in their clothes. Moreover, preference was given exclusively to natural materials. An unprecedented hunt for ocelots began, because among the rich ladies it was a matter of honor to acquire a spotted coat or fur coat with a bright pattern.

Such human activity has sharply hit the number of predators, so much so that in North and Central America the species practically disappeared, and in South America it was found mostly in the jungles of Brazil and Paraguay. Zoologists sounded the alarm, and in 1989 ocelots were banned from hunting and selling their skins by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The animal was also listed in the Red Book as endangered.

The measures taken led to the fact that by the mid-1990s. the total number of ocelots living in their natural environment ranged from 850 thousand to 3 million individuals. Surprisingly, the spread of animals as pets has contributed to an increase in the number of these wild cattle, since the latter adapt well to urban conditions and do not even lose their ability to reproduce.

Video: two ocelots playing with each other in the nursery

The alluring beauty of the ocelot

Ocelots look so unusual and bright that there is a desire to stock up on a professional camera and endlessly photograph this graceful animal. Every centimeter of the body is decorated with a coal-black stripe, or a uniquely shaped spot. And in general, these inhabitants of the American jungle are very neat and harmonious.

Ocelot walks through the grass, looking straight ahead
Ocelot walks through the grass, looking straight ahead

Ocelots are one of the most prominent representatives of the feline family.

So, what is the appearance of spotted purrs. Despite the seeming similarity with leopards, ocelots are noticeably smaller in size. So, animals grow in length up to one and one and a half meters, including the tail. The weight of an adult animal ranges from 11 to 18 kg, and the height at the withers averages 50–55 cm.

In addition, ocelots are loved for their expressive features, including:

  • a muscular body with long, slender legs (the hind legs are noticeably longer than the front ones);
  • a powerful head with wide cheekbones and a heavy chin;
  • long, sinewy neck, passing into wide forearms;
  • rounded, far apart ears;
  • large nose (can be either pink or spotted, depending on the subspecies);
  • large almond-shaped eyes with bright brown-gold irises and expressive gaze.

But the most valuable thing in the beauty of an ocelot is its fur coat. Thick, stuffed fur with soft pile does not leave indifferent any animal lover. But the color can be very diverse, because in the American jungle, scientists have discovered as many as 11 subspecies of these handsome catofees. And each "clan" wool is distinguished by a peculiar arrangement of spots and stripes.

Common to all ocelots is the basic yellowish-sandy color of the pile, on which black and dark brown spots, half rings and stripes are scattered. The latter, however, are located mainly only along the ridge at the base of the head, on the backs of the legs and on the chest. The tail is framed by wide black chocolate rings.

Separately, it is worth describing the "war paint" on the face of the animal. Here nature has spared no colors and imaginations, making every effort to guide the cat's beauty. The black edging affects both the eyes (they seem to be thickly drawn with antimony), and the wide forehead (there are two vertical stripes), and the cheeks (they have classic "tiger" lines).

In general, the pockmarked coat color of ocelots helps them survive in tropical forests, disguising the purr among palms and mangroves.

Photo gallery: ocelots in all their glory

Ocelot muzzle on black background
Ocelot muzzle on black background

Ocelots have very expressive eyes

Ocelot stands at the entrance to the cave and looks up
Ocelot stands at the entrance to the cave and looks up

And wide noses can be either pink or with dark edging.

A baby ocelot is dozing on a wooden curbstone with its paw hanging
A baby ocelot is dozing on a wooden curbstone with its paw hanging

Charm ocelots, like other murkas, do not take

Head of an ocelot looking up while lying on the ground
Head of an ocelot looking up while lying on the ground

Yes, and these cats are not deprived of intelligence

Ocelot stands on a tree branch in the forest and looks down with his teeth
Ocelot stands on a tree branch in the forest and looks down with his teeth

At the same time, the ocelot is a proud and wayward predator.

Ocelot on a leash sits with his back to the camera and looks sideways
Ocelot on a leash sits with his back to the camera and looks sideways

But with a sufficient level of care, an agreeable pet will come out of the spotted handsome

Ocelot sits on a stone in an aviary and looks forward
Ocelot sits on a stone in an aviary and looks forward

However, it is always worth remembering about the wild blood flowing in the veins of such a pet.

Ocelot in its natural environment

Since jaguar-like cats live in vast areas of the American continent, the living conditions in different areas for the ocelot differ. So, in Honduras and Ecuador, animals live in the jungle open for hunting. And on the territory of Brazil and Paraguay, more comfortable conditions for breeding have been created for animals, protecting them by creating protected areas.

Head of an ocelot sitting in a tree and looking down
Head of an ocelot sitting in a tree and looking down

Ocelots are not protected from extermination in all countries of South and Central America.

Well, in the southern regions of the United States (such as Texas or Arizona) and throughout Mexico, it is now almost impossible to find an ocelot. These predators can be observed in these countries only in zoos or from private owners.

Where "leopard-like" live

Despite the Indian name "field tiger", ocelots are not found in the open spaces. These secretive purrs choose to live in dense thickets in the rainforests of the Amazon and similar regions.

Ocelot lies on a tree branch during a tropical downpour
Ocelot lies on a tree branch during a tropical downpour

Ocelots are very difficult to find in the wild.

Like a self-respecting wild cat, the ocelot deftly climbs trees from early childhood. And this is not surprising - in the dry season at high altitudes it is easier to hide from the sweltering heat. And in deep dry hollows, you can build a cozy and safe nest for cubs.

At the same time, human activity makes its own adjustments to the preferences of ocelots for choosing a place of residence. Due to the incessant deforestation and the rapid reduction of areas with dense vegetation, animals are forced to move to bushy meadows and swamps. And sometimes spotted murkas climb even high into the mountains.

But wherever the ocelot has to live, the predator will always try to get away from prying eyes and leave the shelter only at nightfall.

How ocelots live and hunt

Miniature copies of leopards and jaguars are, like the "originals", nocturnal. During the day, you will hardly meet ocelots, because catofeys sleep in their shelters.

Ocelot head, with a grin looking up
Ocelot head, with a grin looking up

Ocelots are brave and agile hunters

When thick darkness descends on the jungle, these graceful beasts go hunting. Each ocelot is subject to an area of ​​up to 30 km 2. Within their possessions, predators seek out prey, and then wait for the right moment, hiding in a shelter - mangrove thickets or in tall grass.

As soon as the victim gets close enough, the ocelot overtakes it with a sharp jump and grabs it with its front paws. This is followed by a powerful, no chance bite in the neck and strangulation.

And here's who gets caught in the sharp teeth and strong claws of ocelots:

  • small and medium rodents;
  • lizards (mainly iguanas);
  • snakes;
  • large insects (beetles, butterflies);
  • rabbits;
  • birds;
  • small primates.

If the spotted beauties cannot find food for themselves in the forest thicket, then at their own peril and risk they begin to approach a person's dwelling. And then poultry, small ungulates like donkeys and even young inattentive piglets can fall prey to baleen hunters.

Behavioral features and reproduction

Ocelots are very inconspicuous inhabitants of the jungle, moving silently between tree branches, vines and dense leaves of shrubs.

Ocelot sits in the roots of a mangrove tree and looks up with one paw outstretched
Ocelot sits in the roots of a mangrove tree and looks up with one paw outstretched

Ocelots are secretive and solitary.

In the daytime, the mustache recline in the trees and doze, and travel on the ground at night. During the rainy season, they often try to hide in hollows and holes, because they do not like to wet a chic fur coat.

At the same time, the love of these cats for big water is also interesting, because if necessary, ocelots can swim considerable distances in search of food. And during the spawning period, when the rivers are teeming with fish, catofees literally settle along the banks in order to feast on easy prey.

In fact, these are single cats that do not like strangers on their territory, be they other animals or humans. In addition to humans, the greatest danger to small predators is represented by jaguars. Those can hunt not only cubs, but also grown young ocelot.

Ocelots breed almost all year round - they do not have a specific mating season. But the greatest peak of activity for the purpose of acquiring offspring occurs in January-March.

A male ocelot stands over a sleeping female
A male ocelot stands over a sleeping female

Ocelot cats are very caring mothers

Forgetting about caution, males begin to meow heart-rendingly to the entire rain forest, calling on females to their territory. When they appear, multiple mating occurs, and if other males wander into the property, skirmishes and bloody battles are inevitable.

The further scenario of the development of events looks like this:

  • the female bears the offspring for 2.3–2.5 months;
  • the male protects the territory all this time, and the expectant mother prepares the den;
  • 2-3 blind kittens are born in the litter;
  • for 1.5-1.6 months, the mother feeds the babies with breast milk;
  • dad at this time gets food and protects the young family from the attacks of other predators;
  • from the age of 2 months, kittens begin to feed on small rodents and gradually master the spaces around the nest;
  • when babies are 4–5 months old, they are taken on their first hunt and begin training.

So, in games and knowledge of the world around for the young, two years will pass. After that, the parents will simply drive them out of the house, so that the young ocelots reclaim their own lands and begin a full-fledged adult life filled with difficulties and dangers.

Well, the feline age of ocelots in natural habitat lasts for about 12-14 years.

Ocelot life in captivity

Despite the fact that these spotted cats are listed in the Red Book, their sale in some countries of Central America is not controlled in any way.

Ocelot sits on a rock, looking back
Ocelot sits on a rock, looking back

Ocelots are kept not only in zoos, but also in private estates

Such a policy means that it is not difficult to buy an animal on the verge of extinction. The danger lies only in the lack of vaccinations and reliable information about the health of the illegally acquired ocelot.

So it is safer to contact specialized nurseries or official stores selling exotic animals.

What is the nature of the "forced" ocelot

These spotted cats, being dominated by humans in adulthood, will never become tame. Moreover, during the "mating games" the behavior of the animal can become completely uncontrollable.

Ocelot sits on the edge of a wooden table
Ocelot sits on the edge of a wooden table

Ocelots cannot be tamed as adults.

But a kitten acquired at the age of three months (it is better when he is still blind at all) will quite succeed in becoming a homely cute pussy. The main thing is to be patient and painstakingly feed the pet from the nipple until it learns to chew the food usual for ocelots, that is, meat.

As soon as the small ocelot can move independently, the owner needs to stock up on numerous toys - balls, ropes, tassels and other equipment. After all, the playfulness of the pet will not hold.

Here are just to pick up all this "good" is better than large sizes, that is, look for pet stores in the departments for dogs.

Ocelots raised in captivity retain physical activity and a desire to frolic for life. And high intelligence makes these predators like dogs. Therefore, if desired, the spotted catfish can be trained and taught many "dog" commands. So, trained kotofei know how to give a paw and bring things to the owner.

Ocelots also calmly learn to use the tray, and since childhood they regularly go to the same place. And so that the animal does not mark the territory, the pet must be castrated at 4 months of age.

At the same time, despite the favorable conditions of existence and love from the household, ocelots will forever retain the independence and pride of a wild animal. Therefore, when the slightest discomfort occurs, the mustache roars make it clear that they should be left alone and not violate the boundaries of what is permitted.

And, at the same time, if the ocelot was taken into the house as a two-three-month-old kitten, the cat will forever become attached to the owner and until the last day will relentlessly follow the breadwinner. And in terms of the degree of affection, such animals are in no way inferior to ordinary domestic purrs.

By the way, the ocelots have practically no relationship with the latter. As with other pets. All living creatures that are smaller than a leopard cat are perceived as a target for hunting. And the dog can be mistaken for a competitor on its territory and simply fight it for life and death.

How to keep an ocelot

The leopard-like inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest are accustomed to large spaces and constant physical activity. Based on this, the captive animal needs to create suitable conditions. That is, it is better not to settle the handsome man in the apartment, since the beast will undergo obesity and joint diseases. And there it is close to death.

Ocelot stands on a log in an open-air cage with dense grass
Ocelot stands on a log in an open-air cage with dense grass

Ocelots need to be kept in spacious enclosures

Therefore, the best option would be to place this very large cat in a wide comfortable aviary. In this case, the area of ​​the room should not be less than 15 m 2, and the height of the fence should not be less than two meters.

Features for setting up an open-air cage for a home ocelot include the following:

  • the floor material should be wooden, and if concrete is used, then the surface should be covered with earth or sand to keep warm for autumn and spring;
  • next to the main room there should be another one for the animal to live in in winter (inside the temperature should not drop below 20 degrees);
  • in small areas throughout the entire area, you need to plant flowers (calendula, clover) and herbs (even oats and barley are suitable), so the animal will have more contact with natural elements;
  • shelves or ladders are built along the walls of the enclosure, cuts and branches of trees are placed so that the cat can freely climb over them and sharpen its claws;
  • in the far corner of the cage, you need to make a den for a predator - a booth or "hut" with straw or unnecessary blankets lined inside;
  • it is better to make a fence from a mesh than from glass (the latter will create a "greenhouse effect" in the heat and the animal may simply suffocate), and instead of a lattice, an "electric shepherd" can be placed on top so that the animal does not run away.

It will also not hurt to equip a small pool in the aviary so that the ocelot can occasionally splash in the water on summer days or even catch a fish launched there by the owner.

If the pet has to huddle in a city apartment, you should definitely walk the spotted handsome man twice a day. Walking should be long and daily. For these purposes, the animal is accustomed from infancy to a collar and a leash, and even better - to a harness.

In the fresh air, the purr is stocked with the necessary amount of vitamin D, and will also psychologically relax and “crush the bones”. With luck, the cat will find the herbs needed for good digestion, which will provide additional support for the health of the ocelot.

How to provide an ocelot with a healthy diet

Since in most cases these wild cattle are purchased from official nurseries, questions about the health of animals usually do not arise. From a very early age, animals are vaccinated, and then also castrated (if the goal of breeding the breed is not set).

Head of an ocelot walking on a tree branch
Head of an ocelot walking on a tree branch

Home ocelots live long with good care

But feeding such a large pet needs special attention. Indeed, in the wild, predators do not always eat regularly, but at the same time, their food is very diverse.

In order for the diet to be as natural as possible, the ocelot should be offered:

  • lean beef;
  • veal;
  • rabbit meat;
  • a bird (preferably with feathers);
  • fresh fish (no more than once a week);
  • "Live" food (chickens, quails, rats, mice).

In rare cases, you can add high quality food for regular cats (premium, holistic class) to the menu.

Do not give these cats salt and spices, alcohol, bread, cereals and milk. However, the last kittens are fed up to 3-4 months, and then it should be natural cat milk or special artificial. As an exception, some owners (in the absence of a nursing cat) pour goat milk into a bottle for baby ocelots.

Since the ocelot is a wild breed of cats, it is necessary to arrange a “fasting day” for such a pet once a week. That is, the animal is left without food for a day with constant access to clean drinking water. This allows you to maintain the balance of substances in the body and protect the purr from excess accumulation of fat in the muscles.

In general, a “home” ocelot should eat no more than 350–550 g of feed per day. As a rule, the animal absorbs the offered food immediately, leaving no reserves. There should be no more than two feedings per day, and each time the food is given at different times. So the mustache will not get used to a strict routine, but the natural diet will remain.

We must not forget about the mandatory inclusion of vitamin and mineral complexes in the pet's menu, especially with a high content of calcium in the composition.

Thus, if all the rules are followed in the maintenance of the ocelot and enough care is taken, the spotted handsome man from the American jungle will live in the family for up to 20 years. The main thing is to love this proud beast and never raise a hand on a cat.

How to legally buy an ocelot

As it turned out, the illegal purchase of ocelots for small amounts leads to the appearance of an unexplored and, most likely, unvaccinated animal in the house. But this is only part of the trouble, because the lack of documents for such a Red Book animal leads to the imposition of an administrative fine and the confiscation of the cat.

Ocelot lies on a path in a protected forest
Ocelot lies on a path in a protected forest

Ocelots are difficult to acquire due to the small number of official nurseries in the country

So the only correct and safe in all respects would be to contact the official breeders who have all the documents necessary for keeping a wild animal. Russian catteries, as a rule, cooperate with European catteries and supply ocelot kittens from there to order. Or, which is also not uncommon, they independently breed spotted purrs, raising socially adapted and healthy handsome men.

The only dilemma to be solved by the future owner of the ocelot is finding the right nursery. Indeed, on the territory of the Russian Federation and the CIS, those can be counted on one hand. Two large "boutiques" of exotic pets are located in Moscow, there is one nursery in Krasnodar and one in St. Petersburg.

Well, the approximate cost for an ocelot kitten starts from 400 thousand rubles. and rises to 1.5 million rubles.

In my opinion, ocelots are definitely beautiful creatures that almost any inhabitant of the planet wants to have. But you should always remember that these are wild predators who love space and lead an active lifestyle. Therefore, in general, it is good that such handsome men are worth fabulous money. After all, having such amounts, the owner a priori will be able to create comfortable conditions for the animal for life in captivity. Otherwise, it is better to transfer the animal to the reserve so as not to create problems for yourself or the cat.

Owner reviews

Ocelots are extraordinary cats in the American jungle that have captivated the hearts of people for a century. And if earlier the fashion dealt cruelly with the "leopard-like" purrs, today people are much more careful with these wild beauties. In some countries, the sale and maintenance of ocelots is prohibited by law, however, Red Book cats continue to be kept as pets. This becomes possible thanks to the long-term work of specialized nurseries that raise domesticated ocelots.

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