The ocelot or dwarf leopard is found in every South American country apart from Chile and as far north as Mexico and Texas.

Ocelots like to live in areas with thick plant cover.

This is mainly in or around tropical forest, thorn forest, mangrove swamps and savanna.

They are meat eaters and like to eat all sorts, including deer, snakes, fish, birds, rabbits and rodents…they’re not fussy! Ocelots are nocturnal and usually hunt at night but they have been known to hunt as early as dusk or as late as dawn.

The colour of an ocelot ranges from a very light yellow to a dark reddish-grey, but all have dark spots and stripes.


Although ocelots are currently considered to be of least concern of becoming extinct, their numbers have been affected by hunting for their furs, and they have also been captured and kept as exotic pets. The trade of ocelots is now banned.

Ocelot questions and answers

Does an ocelot have claws?
They do have claws and like all cat like species (with the exception of the cheetah) they can pull them back inside their paws to protect them

Are they hunted by any other creatures?
They are indeed…jaguars and pumas will happily hunt ocelot as well as Harpy eagles and also large snakes like the anaconda.

Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.