Ocelots are a species of wild cat that inhabit rainforests and brushland from the extreme southwestern United States into most of the northern half of South America. They can grow to be over four feet long, can weigh up to 40 pounds and may live up to 20 years.
Ocelots are versatile animals that are at home on land, in the trees and even in the water. They are one of the few species of cats that swim. Like all wild cats, ocelots are carnivores, and items on their menu include monkeys, birds, fish, rodents and reptiles. As these cats do not have good chewing teeth, they tend to swallow pieces of meat whole. Their tongues are rough enough to take off minute remains of meat from their preys' skeletons.
Also like many wildcats, they prefer the cover of night. Ocelots can cover the distance of five miles under the cover of darkness. During the day they rest in foliage.
As of the 2015, the ocelot's status is threatened. Human activity such as deforestation, hunting for pelts and capture for the pet industry have all contributed to the decline of the ocelot in the wild. The United States and some other countries have made the creature a protected species.