Ocelots are native to Central and South America with a small population still residing in the southwestern United States.  Ocelots are excellent climbers and live most of their lives in trees.  They have a very distinct odor that they spray to mark their territory.  This odor is water-resistant so that rain cannot easily wash it away.

Lifespan

On average, ocelots live about 12 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live up to 20 years.

Shape & Size

Ocelots are typically 20 to 39 inches long with a tail that is 12 to 18 inches long. They weigh between 25 and 35 pounds.

Color Pattern

Ocelots have very distinctive chain-like rosettes and spots on their body. They have white markings around their eyes to help reflect what little light may be available at night so they can see. Ocelots have white spots on the backs of their ears like all other spotted wildcats. These spots are used to communicate with their young. If the kittens cannot see the white spots on the backs of their mother’s ears while following her, it is an indication to them to go hide.

Behavior

Ocelots are nocturnal and solitary and live primarily in trees. Ocelots, although able to purr, generally make just one sound; it is a low growl. They make this sound regardless of their mood.

Habitat

Ocelots are adaptable; they can live in a variety of habitats. They are able to live in drier climates as long as a suitable water source is easily accessible. Due to hunting, they now primarily live in the rainforests of Central and South America.

Principal Threats

The ocelot's primary threat is humans. They were hunted to near-extinction in the United States in the 70’s for their fur. It takes between 30 and 35 full-grown ocelots to make just one fur coat.

Leopardus pardalis

Range Map

Range

Ocelots are adaptable; they are able to live in a variety of habitats. Ocelots once had a larger population residing in the southwestern United States but, due to hunting, they now primarily live in the rainforests of Central and South America.

Food

Ocelots are opportunistic hunters and eat a variety of prey, including deer, bats, small rodents, monkeys, birds, and lizards.

Reproductive Habits

An ocelot’s gestation period is between 79 and 85 days. They have an average of three kittens per litter but at times have just one or two. Females are able to breed at the age of two whereas males are able to breed at two and a half years.

Behavior

Ocelots are nocturnal, resting in trees or underbrush during the day and doing majority of their hunting at night. They are opportunistic hunters and will hunt anything that comes by them. At night, they will travel up to five miles to patrol their territory. Unlike most cats, ocelots do not shy away from water and are able to comfortably swim.

Conservation

Ocelots were hunted to near-extinction in the United States for their fur. Due to national legislation, ocelots are now protected and their numbers have started to slowly climb again. Their main threat now is loss of habitat due to deforestation.

Fun Facts

  • In the wild, ocelots love to catch monkeys to eat; they do this by playing dead on a tree branch until a curious monkey gets too close
  • Between 1960 and 1970, more than 200,000 ocelot skins were traded per year
  • Ocelots are capable of taking down prey larger than themselves, such as deer
  • Ocelots have large paws to help them climb trees and branches in the rain forests
  • Ocelots are mostly nocturnal
  • Ocelots are opportunistic hunters who will hunt anything that comes by

About Carolina Tiger Rescue

Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

1940 Hanks Chapel Rd.
Pittsboro, NC 27312
(919) 542-4684
(919) 542-4454
info@carolinatigerrescue.org

Wildlife should be in the Wild

Rescue

Education

  • We believe the ideal home for wildlife is in the wild.
  • We believe it is critical to conserve their native habitats.
  • We believe wild animals should not be kept as pets.
  • We believe captive breeding should ONLY be done in accordance with Species Survival plans.
  • We believe all wild animals, both captive and in their native habitats, deserve to be treated with respect and not exploited for entertainment and commercial purposes.

Visit Carolina Tiger Rescue

Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Public Tours

Twilight Tours

Coming out for a tour is a great way to learn more about the animals that call Carolina Tiger Recue home. We offer many different types of tours.  Public tours are great for adults and families. Twilight tours are for adults only (18 years of age and older). Tiger Tales are a perfect option if you want to bring out really young children. Find the tour that is right for you and enjoy a walk through the sanctuary. 

For all tours, tickets must be purchased in advance.

Have Fun Learning at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Field Trips

Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips link

Virtual Field Trips

Education is key to our mission.  We enjoy teaching “kids” of all ages!  Our field trips, both virtual and onsite, are ideal for groups of kids.  Our “Kid for a Day” Adult Camp provides a unique learning opportunity while allowing adults to channel their inner child.  While all of these opportunities are structured differently, in the end we want everyone to walk away knowing more about the animals we care for and what they can do to help protect them.

Our Rescues
Bobcat at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
BOBCATS

Caracal at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
CARACALS

Coatimundi at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
COATIMUNDIS

Cougar at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
COUGARS

Kinkajou at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
KINKAJOUS

In Memoriam
Leopard at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
LEOPARDS

Lion at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
LIONS

Ocelot at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
OCELOTS

Serval at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
SERVALS

Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
TIGERS

Animals
Games
Activities
Keeper Stripes

Get involved at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual Volunteering

Group volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Group Volunteering

There are so many ways to be a part of Carolina  Tiger Rescue.  Individual volunteers are able to help in many aspects of our work, including animal care, tour guides, construction, and gift shop assistance.  Work groups come from community groups, colleges, work places, and more!  It’s a great way to spend a day and it helps care for the cats.

Ways to Support Carolina Tiger Rescue

Donate to Carolina Tiger Rescue

Donate

Big Cat Dinner Club Information

Big Cat Dinner Club

Whether it’s a monthly donation or a one-time gift, a symbolic animal adoption, a gift to the Big Cat Dinner Club, or any other kind of donation, your contribution to Carolina Tiger Rescue goes straight to work helping to save wild cats in need.  Don’t see what you are looking for, our development staff can help you find a meaningful way to support the cats!