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Ocelot

(Felis pardalis)

Ocelot (Felis pardalis) Ocelots are nocturnal and diurnal, feeding mainly on the ground. Found in all tropical forests, rarely does the ocelot climb trees though it is an excellent climber. During the night, they tend to hunt along open trails, while during the day, the stay hidden within the deeper bush. This is the most comonly seen of all the cats in Belize.

Ocelots feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. The Belizean name for the ocelot is the same as the margay "tiger cat". The name "ocelot" comes from the Mexican Aztec word "tlalocelot" meaning field tiger. Ocelots appear to be better adapted to habitat disturbance and can live in disturbed forest. But they can be found in a variety of habitats in Belize, from dry scrub to the dense forests.

The ocelots are endangered species throughout their range from the extreme southern United States to Argentina. The ocelot's fur is very beautiful and has been long sought after for fur coats. Fortunately, the United States banned importation of ocelot pelts in 1972. However, habitat loss and fragmentation due to development and agricultral expansion still remain very eminent threats to their existence.

Key Facts

Size
Length: 3 feet + 15" tail
Weight: 20-35 lbs.

Breeding
Reach Maturity: One & half years for females and two half for males
Mating: Non-seasonal
Gestation: 79-85 days
No. of Young: 2-4 cubs

Lifestyle
Habitat: Tropical forests.Solitary.
Food: Ground-living mammals, fish, frogs, turtles
Lifespan: 7-10 years in wild, 20 years in captivity

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