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The ocelot is a spotted feline that is about twice the size of a large domestic cat, typically weighing about 24 to 35 pounds. Once frequently found in South America, Central America, and southern areas of the United States, the beautiful animal is now endangered in many parts of its range.
View a second image of Ocelot Hair
Ocelots are generally terrestrial animals, but they are also adept at climbing and swimming and are sometimes willing to enter trees or water to capture prey. The diet of the ocelot, therefore, includes birds and fish, as well as rodents and reptiles. Ocelots carry out their hunting endeavors primarily at night, though they may also be active during the day. The medium-sized felines may breed any time during the year, and males and females frequently share territories, which may comprise an area of up to three square miles. Litters of ocelots tend to be small and are kept in a protective den, where they are nurtured by the mother.
Humans have prized the fur of ocelots since as far back as the early days of the ancient Aztec civilization, the name of the animal deriving from the Aztec word tlalocelot, which means “field tiger.” Short, smooth, and patterned elaborately in elongated, irregularly shaped spots tinged in black, coats and other garments fabricated from ocelot fur are indeed an eye-catching sight, though their popularity has decreased some in recent years as an increasing interest in animal rights has developed. Ocelots are also utilized for commercial profit by those who capture or raise the tamable animals for sale as exotic pets.
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