Last Reviewed and Updated on July 29, 2022
These medium-sized wild cats are rarely seen by humans; ocelots are both great at hiding themselves as well as avoiding humans and other animals they wish to avoid. Learn some of the most interesting facts about ocelots, from the color of their adorable cubs to their impressive skills.
1. Male and female ocelots look almost the same
There aren’t many differences between sexes in this species; the mature male is only slightly heavier on average than the female is.
2. They are born gray and with blue eyes
Ocelots already have their spots when they are born, but unlike adult animals that have brown fur, baby ocelot’s fur is gray. As they mature, the fur color changes to a mostly brown-ish color.
Their eyes are blue and will become golden yellow as they age. One of the sweetest facts about ocelots for sure.
3. Each ocelot has a unique fur pattern
Their coat is covered with a spotted pattern, and each ocelot has a unique fur pattern.
Their skin pattern provides them with good camouflage, making them blend in the forest with ease while they hunt for their prey,
4. They are medium-sized wild cats
Not exactly a tiger, but not a house cat sized either. Ocelots are medium-sized wild cats with a body length anywhere from 21.7 and 39.4 in / 55 and 100 cm and a tail length between 11.8 to 17.7 in / 30 to 45 cm.
5. They prefer habitats with dense forest cover near water
These wild cats prefer habitats with easy water access and dense forest cover, both because these areas are rich with prey and because it is easier to avoid other predators in such environments.
If an ocelot shares its territory with larger predators that can pose a threat, an ocelot will adjust its active hours to avoid them. Some of the larger predators that can share parts of their range are cougars and jaguars.
6. Ocelots are solitary
These wild cats usually lead a solitary life. Females don’t share their territory with other females. Males have a larger territory, so their territory does overlap with the territories of a few (2 or 3) females. Social interactions with them are kept to a minimum.
There have been a few cases reported where adults were seen together outside of the mating season, but these cats are generally very territorial and will even fight to the death.
7. Like many cats, they are excellent climbers
They like to spend their time resting on trees. They are very agile when it comes to climbing and leaping; ocelots will escape their predators by jumping on trees.
8. They are great swimmers too
Many cats avoid water, but not ocelots. They are fond of water and are strong swimmers. Another wild cat that is fond of swimming is the tiger.
9. They have communal “toilets”
One of the most interesting facts about ocelots is their communal toilets. Although ocelots are solitary animals, they do have communal latrines. Several different ocelots deposit their scat in the same communal latrine (they can be more than one such latrine).
10. They hunt smaller animals but can tackle larger prey as well
Ocelots either follow the scent trails and hunt down their prey or wait for their prey for longer periods of time (up to about an hour) at a certain site. They mostly prey on smaller rodents, opossums, armadillos, fish, small lizards, birds, and even insects.
Ocelots, although rarely, can prey on larger animals as well. They can hunt the likes of deer, sheep, anteaters, monkeys, and tortoises.