Leopardus pardalis

CLASS Mammalia | ORDER Carnivora | FAMILY Felidae

RANGE Mexico, Central and South America to northern Argentina, with remnant populations still in Texas

HABITAT From jungle areas and tropical rain forests to dry scrub and chaparral zones

DIET Rodents, rabbits, young deer, birds, snakes and fish

24 - 35 lbs

26 - 40 in

12 - 18 in

70 days

1 - 4 kittens

IUCN Status
Least Concern

Ocelots are ambush hunters and very active at night. They rest in trees or dense brush during the day. Ocelots require habitat that supports a plentiful prey population and provides cover from which to hunt prey.

Ocelots mark their territory with urine and scent markings.


Their eyes have a special layer on the inside that collects light, so ocelots can see much better in the dark than people can. Their vision is about six times better than humans.

Ocelots have webbed forepaws for swimming.


Ocelots face threats from habitat loss and fragmentation, the fur trade and the pet trade.

In the U.S., ocelots once ranged throughout the southwest from Arizona to Louisiana, yet now less than 100 ocelots are estimated to remain in Texas. They are considered endangered by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.