Leopardus pardalis

LEOPARDUS PARDALISocelot transparency

Scientific name: Leopardus Pardalis
English names: Ocelot, dwarf leopard
Bolivian names: Ocelote, tigrecillo, gato montés
At la Senda Verde: 1 male and 1 female, Cat Stevens and Cat Iris
Average Lifespan: 13 years (Free)
Body Weight: Male: 6 – 11 kg (Adult), Female: 7 – 15 kg (Adult)
Length: 73-100cm males are larger than females


Ocelots have a very wide range that goes from southern Texas to northern Argentina and Urugay. Unlike the Puma, Ocelots cannot make a living in open spaces; they are restricted to thick vegetation and tropical forest. This means they cannot climb up to high mountains or live in cold forests as the Pumas can.

Ocelot comes from the Nahuatl language, which was spoken by the Aztecs and is currently the most spoken indigenous language in Mexico. It literally means Tiger, and it can be more commonly used to identify the Jaguar (panthera onca). It is said that the correct way to call and Ocelot is Tlalocelotl which means “field tiger”. Regardless of Ocelot being a general word to call any type of tiger-like feline by their native speakers, it is the word that is used in most languages to identify this specific type of feline, the Leopardus Pardalis. The only other common name in English is Dwarf Leopard. In Panamá and Costa Rica it is known as Manigordo, Cunaguaro in Venezuela, Tigrecillo (small tiger) in Mexico, Ecuador and Peru and Yaguatirica in southern Brazil.

Ocelot life is in part influenced by the fact that they are also pray. That’s right, larger felines like Jaguars and even large eagles can take an ocelot as a meal. Humans of course are their worst nightmare; ocelot fur was greatly appreciated for coats for many years, which led to drastic reduction in their populations. This is why Ocelots prefer activity during the night and at dusk. It has been studied that the more human presence near them, the more nocturnal they become, which explains why they prefer the night: to avoid being hunted. Ocelots will adapt to whatever pray is available where they live as long as it is small enough for them to catch it. They need to eat about 800gr. every day and their favourite pray weight is 1 kg.

Ocelots are close relatives to the margay; they look very similar though are considerably larger. While the Ocelot can hunt both in the ground and in the trees, the margay is uniquely an arboreal hunter.

Ocelot males need more than a square kilometre of territory to live, and within that territory there are normally four ocelot females. The females will stay pregnant for two months and will have from one to four cubs.


  • They are picky eaters. Most cats remove feathers and fur while they eat. Ocelots prefer to do it before.
  • The left and right side of the coat are not the same, neither the pattern nor the color


AT LA SENDA VERDE:Cat Iris and Cat Stevens in den


Both of our resident ocelots are victims of two of the most harmful wildlife crimes: Pet trade and Habitat destruction. Male and female, both are 20 months of age and are getting close to their full grown size, reason why in June 2017 we have launched a campaign to gather funds to build them a larger home.

Cat Iris
The female, Cat Iris was being kept as a pet in a family home in the town of Palos Blancos, which is a small town that produces fresh produce for Bolivia and is situated in the bottom of a valley in a very lush part of the Tropical Andes. Ocelots are extremely beautiful and gracious; they are like a mixture of a leopard and a cat, which makes them very attractive for pets. But they are not pets, and are very difficult to become fond of humans. Known artists like Salvador Dali kept an Ocelot as a pet which speaks of how inculturated wildlife crime can be in modern society.

Cat StevensOcelot with mouth open
The male Ocelot, Cat Stevens, was rescued by en engineer working at the San Buenaventura sugar factory. This Factory was finished in 2016 and was built in the middle of the northern Madidi forests, just outside the national park. There is no suitable land to grow sugar cane to feed this factory, so they have simply chosen to destroy the nearby primary rainforest for that. So far 1,200 hectares have been destroyed to lay way for the cane plantations, and many more are coming. Thousands of animals have seen their homes destroyed before their eyes. Cat Stevens is one of them. Clear-cutting of the forest happened so fast (two years) that these animals didn’t have time to run somewhere else or fall prey to local bush-meat hunters. They simply where left there to wonder in what once was a forest.

Cat Stevens is only one of the thousands of victims from this extremely fast habitat destruction occurring currently in Bolivia. We want to remind you that you can be part of the fight and help Cat Stevens and Cat iris recover from this situation and support La Senda Verde in their fight against wildlife crime.


two ocelots in small space

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