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An excellent hunter, the ocelot primarily hunts small rodents and 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.

santos ocelot sticking tongue out

Did You Know?

Ocelot arose from the Aztec word tlalocelot, which means ``field tiger``. Brazilian Ocelots are sometimes referred to as “painted leopards” or “dwarf leopards”.

Quick Facts

Latin Name:
Leopardus pardalis mitis

Central and eastern South America

Tropical and subtropical forest

2.4 to 2.8 ft

20 years

Zoo Location:
Night Hunters

Small mammals such as rodents, possums and armadillos, some reptiles and birds

Risk Status:
Species at Risk (U.S. Endangered Species List—Endangered)