ocelot (äsˈəlŏtˌ, ōˈsə–) [key], medium-sized cat, Leopardus pardalis, of Central and South America. It is occasionally found as far N as Texas. The ocelot has a yellow-brown coat with black spots, rings, and stripes. It is about 30 in. (76 cm) long, not including the 14-in. (35-cm) tail, stands about 16 in. (41 cm) high at the shoulder, and weighs up to 35 lb (18 kg). Ocelots live in forests, where they hunt, mainly on the ground, both by day and by night. They prey on birds, snakes, and small mammals. Litter size varies from 2 to 4. Ocelots are hunted for their pelts, which are used for coats and trim. They are able to be tamed and are sometimes kept as pets. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Felidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.