An excellent hunter, the Southern Brazilian ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) mitisprimarily hunts small rodents and

At the Cincinnati Zoo

also will take small deer, armadillos, reptiles, and other small animals. Though it can climb trees and even swim well, the ocelot spends most of its time hunting on the ground, as long as the habitat provides thick plant cover and abundant prey. Decorated with dark splotches and stripes, its golden coat camouflages with the foliage and hides the hunter from its prey. Like most other small cats, the ocelot is a nocturnal hunter. With whiskers, large ears, and eyesight six times better than a human’s, the ocelot has no trouble tracking down prey as it patrols the forest floor at night.


  • Pronunciation: AHS-uh-lot
    Baby ocelot

    Kitten at the Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo. With the help of the Cincinnati Zoo, both institutions worked together to create the first ocelot born from AI.

  • Length: 2.4 to 2.8 ft
  • Weight: 20 to 34 lbs
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 yrs in captivity
  • Range: Central and eastern South America
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forest
  • Diet: Small mammals such as rodents, possums and armadillos, some reptiles and birds
  • Risk Status: Species at Risk (U.S. Endangered Species List—Endangered)