RT @ALI_SDSU. #FunFactFriday @sandiegozoo was home to the first baby panda born in the Western Hemisphere in 1990 http://t.co/kFHwH1zaWK — 1 day 22 hours ago
Animals have personalities, & we've had a century of them. Meet some of the characters: http://t.co/hi8VTaYxaR http://t.co/YALQwUkT6m — 2 days 37 min ago
An ocelot is a small cat from the New World. It ranges from the very southern region of Texas all the way to northern Argentina in South America. The ocelot has one of the most beautiful coats of any animal in the world. Its fur is golden over most of its body, with white or cream on the belly; splashed over the background color are all sorts of patterns!
It is very hard to study wild ocelots, as they are active primarily at night, especially at dawn and dusk, and are very secretive. They may be more active in daytime on rainy or cloudy days. Ocelots prefer to live in areas with thick vegetation, such as dense chaparral or tropical rain forests. During the day, they sleep hidden among bushes, on a tree branch, or inside a hollow tree. Without lots of places to hide, ocelots cannot survive. If trees and bushes are cut down in an area where ocelots live, the cats leave.
The better to see you with
Although they are predators, ocelots are often harassed by groups of potential prey animals such as monkeys or birds.
Breakfast at night
Ocelots prey mainly on small rodents but are also known to eat birds, snakes, iguanas and other lizards, baby peccaries, young deer, rabbits, and even fish and crabs. They may look for potential food while strolling about or may sit and wait for prey to appear. If the carcass can't be eaten in one feeding, the cat covers it and returns the next night to finish its meal. Ocelots spend most of their time on the ground but are strong swimmers and good climbers and jumpers. They may take prey up into a high place to eat it in peace.
At the San Diego Zoo and San Diego
Zoo Safari Park, the ocelots are fed a ground meat diet made for zoo carnivores and beef heart; a thawed mouse and bones are offered twice a week for teeth cleaning and enrichment.
Mutters and yowls
Ocelots communicate with each other using body language. scent marking, and vocalizations. An arched back, stiff legs, and tail held straight down is a threat posture. The cats “chuckle” when excited, may “mutter” to each other, and yowl during courtship .
A male ocelot keeps a territory that overlaps four or five females’ territories, so he can easily find a mate. He is not so friendly to his male next-door neighbor, though: males mark territories and trails by clawing logs, spraying vegetation with their urine, and leaving feces prominently on trails so all other males know to stay away!
An ocelot family is made up of an adult female and her young. After breeding, the male and female ocelots go their separate ways. The female is pregnant for a little over two months before she gives birth in a hollow tree, rocky bluff, cave, or secluded thicket to usually one but sometimes up to four kittens. The mother protects her kitten, feeds it, and cares for it all by herself. She may move her baby to alternate den sites one to five times, depending on her sense of security.
Young ocelots are fully marked with spots at birth, but their coat is gray, their lower limbs are dark, and their eyes are blue, changing to brown at around three months of age. Those eyes are closed at birth but open at about 14 days. The youngster begins to walk when it is three weeks old. As the kitten grows, the mother ocelot teaches it how to hunt, usually at four to six weeks of age, and the kitten is able to eat solid food at eight weeks, although it may continue to nurse for six months.
By the time it is eight months old, the youngster’s adult teeth are in, and it can hunt for itself, but may stay in the mother's home range for up to two years.