A baby ocelot and his friend from the Cincinnati Zoo

This cute baby ocelot named Santos from the Cincinnati Zoo was born on November 2. In two months he went from a tiny, sedentary lump to a funny, nimble kitten, actively exploring the world around him.

Now the little ocelot has a buddy — Blakely the dog. Santos and Blakely have become very friendly and spend most of their time playing fun games.

The ocelot (lat. Leopardus pardalis) is a small carnivore of the feline family (lat. Felidae). The ocelot lives in Central and South America. The northernmost region where you can find this predator is the U.S. state of Texas. It prefers to settle in tropical forests, but the ocelot avoids open spaces.

The cat’s body length (from head to tail) is about 100-140 cm, its height at withers is about 50 cm, and its weight is about 10-15 kilograms. The coat color is yellowish-brown with characteristic black ring-shaped spots; the fur inside the rings is somewhat darker than around them. In the area of the neck and around the shoulders, the spots are turned into stripes, and on the paws into small dots. The belly is white, the ears are black with large white dots on the back side.

Ocelots live a solitary nocturnal lifestyle. During the day, they hide in the forest, hiding in tree hollows or under tree roots. They are excellent tree climbers, but prefer to hunt on the ground.

Their prey is mostly small mammals. They also hunt birds and snakes. Sometimes larger cats can afford to eat small donkeys and pigs.

Ocelots are very attached to their range and rarely move to other areas. Male ranges are about 31 km² and overlap with the ranges of one or even several females (about 14 km²). There is no definite period for mating.

After two and a half months of pregnancy, the female has one or two cubs that feed on mother’s milk for a month and a half. When the kittens are about two years old, they leave their mother and their home range.

The ocelot has been put on the endangered species list because of uncontrolled hunting. For a long time, their pelt was considered quite a popular commodity on the black markets, where it was worth incredible money.

Today, thanks to new interstate agreements, the hunting of this beautiful cat, as well as the sale of any products made from it, is strictly prohibited.

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