The beautiful Ocelot is one of Nicaragua’s amazing wildcats. Medium-sized and solitary, this cool cat is such a fascinating and distinctive creature. Last October, the Nicaraguan Central Bank showcased the Ocelot as the coin #4 in their wildly popular “Wildlife of Nicaragua” coin collector series.
The New Nicaraguan Ocelot Collectors' Coin
Interestingly, this captivating beauty is the second largest spotted cat in Central and South America. They can grow to be 44 lb and have a distinctive tawny, golden, or brown-grayish coat marked with black rosettes and stripes. The Ocelot, or Leopardus pardalis, is an amazing wildcat not only native to Central and South America, but also the Southwestern United States and Mexico.
Ocelot Resting on a Tree Branch - Photo Courtesy of Houston Chronical
Like all cats big and small, Ocelots are nocturnal and have incredible eyesight and keen hearing. Of course, they are carnivores, but they are on the hunt mostly during the night. Rodents, birds, reptiles, fish, and crabs are some of their favorite meals. Their razor-sharp teeth make it easy for them to tear their food into bite-sized pieces so they can swallow more easily. Unlike domestic cats, Ocelots are excellent swimmers and aren’t afraid of water. They will travel up to 7 miles in search of food, but prefer to take their prey to a high place so they can eat without being disturbed.
A Stunning Ocelot - Photo Courtesy of Animal Talk
Sometimes called a “Dwarf Jaguar”, the Ocelot is a smaller sized wildcat. Therefore, it's a source of food for larger carnivores. They inhabit areas with relatively dense vegetation and can be found sleeping on tree branches or in hollow trees during the day. Moreover, they have an aggressive temperament, and also are very territorial, just like all cats. While their instinct tells them to avoid all people if possible, they could very well go into attack mode if feeling threatened.
The Deep Look of an Ocelot - Photo Courtesy of NatureRules
In the deep forest zones of Nicaragua, male and female Ocelots come together only during mating season, and make a loud yowl-like cry when they are ready to mate. Female Ocelots typically have just one litter of kittens every other year. In fact, their pregnancy lasts just 85 days and produces 2 to 3 kittens per litter.
While the kittens are born blind, they will begin to open their eyes after one month. Their adorable kitten body has dark, thick fur and they start developing additional colors after one month as well. The kittens are ready for their independence at around a year old.
A Beautiful Baby Ocelot with its Mother - Photo Courtesy of VictoriaAdvocate
The average lifespan of the Ocelot is 10 - 13 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity. The Nicaraguan National Zoo has one of them, and like all wild cats, it's one of the most popular attractions.
For more amazing wildlife found in Nicaragua, check out these 2 blogs:
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