Ocelots are wild cats that can be found in South America, Central America, Mexico and the southernmost tip of the United States, the Caribbean.
It has a body length of up to 100 cm, a tail length of 45 cm and a body weight of 10-15 kg. Its average life is 21 years old.
It is naturally rare in its environment, most dietary studies have been based on stomach contents and faecal analysis. This cat hunts small mammals, including monkeys, and birds, eggs, lizards and tree frogs.
It also eats grass, fruit and other vegetation, most likely to help digestion. A 2006 report about a margay chasing squirrels in its natural environment confirmed that the margay is able to hunt its prey entirely in trees.
Don't underestimate its combat power because it looks cute and lovely. Sometimes it also attacks human-raised poultry. Therefore, the level of the food chain has no connection with the size of the body. They living in the wild are not afraid of water at all, swimming is not a problem!
After decades of habitat loss and vehicular deaths, only 50 of the cats are left in a corner of Texas.
Last November in Texas, a feline twice the size of a house cat was struck dead on State Highway 100, just south of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in the Rio Grande Valley.
The number one cause of ocelot deaths in the U.S. today is vehicular. Six of the 14 cats tracked with radio telemetry by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Laguna Atascosa biologists have been killed by vehicles. As Blihovde puts it, "Wildcats and highways don't mix."
Yet cars and trucks aren't an ocelot's biggest foe. Habitat loss and fragmentation are. Because humans have been expanding into the rainforest, their place of residence has shrunk significantly.
Some 95 percent of the cats' native habitat in the U.S. has been converted to agriculture or become urban sprawl. In the Rio Grande Valley—a border area that's one of the nation's fastest growing regions—young males like OM276 that venture outside the refuge must navigate a dangerous man-made landscape.
Ultimately, the ocelot's recovery depends on finding enough room for the population to expand. For an imperiled species like the ocelot, every kitten is a sign of hope—and a step in the right direction. Now that humans have realized this problem, we have enacted laws to protect Ocelots. We hope this cute little hunter can live freely in the rain forest.
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