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OCELOT

Scientific name: Leopardus pardalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: Ocelot (Jaguatirica)

Behavior:
mainly nocturnal but also diurnal, terrestrial, solitary

Habitat: savanna, dry shrubland, savanna wetland, but mainly tropical and subtropical forests (including riverine forests).

Diet: Essentially carnivore. The most common prey are small vertebrates, like rodents, birds and lizards, but ocelots can also feed on larger mammals.

Geographic distribution: from the southeast of Texas and the west of Mexico to the north of Argentina (except the Andes). In Brazil, ocelots occur throughout the territory, with the exception of the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Breeding: gestation period is 70 to 85 days, average litter is 2 (1-4). Sexual maturity is achieved between 18 and 22 months in females and around 30 months in males.

Description: A medium sized species, averaging in length from 67 to 100cm, with a relatively short tail (30 to 44cm, 46% of body length). The average weight is around 11kg (8-15kg). The body is slim, though the head and paws are big. The fur is short and thick, overall light yellow, but whitish in the ventral area. Hairs in head and neck are thrust froward. Dark rosettes appear laterally beginning on the ventral side and merge into stripes in the limbs proximal area. In the dorsal side, the spots merge into lines that go from the top of the skull to the tail insertion point. Dark spots tend to form open rosettes that coalesce into longitudinal stripes on the side. Young calves are very similar to Leopardus wiedii.

Status: On IBAMA’s Official List of Endangered Brazilian Mammals, CITES appendix II.

Main Threats: In the past, ocelots were much sought for the fur market. Currently, habitat destruction is one of the main threats.

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